Gases like molecular oxygen and methane are fundamentally significant to Earth’s habitability and the evolution of life. The concentration of these gases in our atmosphere are the result of constant interplay between the biological and geological process that create and consume them. My work focuses on the enzyme-level processes that make and break these molecules, and how recent advances in isotope ratio mass spectrometry can provide new tools for tracing these process at the global level. In this talk I’ll introduce the concept of multiply-substituted isotopologues (commonly called “clumped” isotopes), and share case studies that show how these tools can be used to illuminate deep biosphere processes.
Dr. Jeanine Ash is a C-DEBI Postdoctoral Fellow at Rice University. She received her B.S at the University of Arizona and her PhD from UCLA. She uses the natural abundances of molecules with more than one rare isotope substitution to explore how microbial metabolisms contribute to global biogeochemical cycles.