Start date:
October 2012
End date:
January 2013
Cape Evans, Mount Erebus, Pyramid Trough, Taylor Valley, Tramway Ridge, Turtle Rock
Principle Investigator:
Hubertus Staudigel
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Antarctica is a very harsh continent with very little life. Food webs have to be very “creative” to adjust to conditions that have been compared to life on other planets or during the early Earth. This project will use these special conditions to explore which microbes are the most successful at using nutrients and energy from volcanic rocks. The goal is to improve understanding of microbes at the bottom of the food chain: How can microbes make organic carbon by using inorganic components? Which microbes are the main players in utilizing chemical energy and nutrients from rocks and soils that are very poor in organic matter? Experiments will focus on the Extreme Environments of the McMurdo area around Ross Island, Antarctica. These will include some (ancient) lava flows and lakes in the Dry Valleys, the Royal Society Range, and on Mount Erebus.