Mid-Cayman Rise, Piccard and Von Damm Vent Fields (Field Study) Field Study uri icon

DCO ID 11121/6911-5956-9078-6034-CC

open to journalists

  • No

running title

  • Mid-Cayan Rise, Piccard and Von Damm Vent Fields


  • The exploration-based science in this project will focus upon three types of field sites that represent widespread rock-hosted subsurface environments: deep sea hydrothermal vents, serpentinizing ophiolites, and deep fracture systems. The overarching hypothesis will test whether H2 and sunlight-independent organic carbon fuel microbial activities in deep subsurface ecosystems. Our interdisciplinary studies of field sites will use comparative taxonomic, metagenomic, and transcriptomic technologies linked to thorough characterization of all sites, single-cell genomics analysis, high-pressure enrichments, and experimental microbiology of novel cultivars, and measurements of microbial utilization of H2 and various carbon compounds. These analyses will (1) create a catalogue of microbial activities relative to their environmental context; (2) resolve the extent and diversity of microbial communities in subsurface environments; (3) identify the relationships between deep subsurface microbial processes and carbon flux; and (4) stimulate applied research aimed at alternative energy approaches, biotechnology, and carbon sequestration. The overall questions include; “How do organisms in the rock-hosted subsurface transform and assimilate carbon compounds and how quickly do they do this?” and “How do these processes relate to ambient pressure, their geologic context (fluid flux, carbon sources and sinks), to microbial physiology, and to evolution in the subsurface environment?”

date/time interval

  • May 31, 2013 - July 2, 2014