September 10, 2020
Dr. Rose Jones, University of Minnesota
Menu for a deep microbe: attempts in understanding microbe-mineral interactions in the deep marine seafloor
For microbes in the deep marine subsurface, inorganic chemical energy often is the sole energy source, catalyzing redox reactions of chemical species dissolved in fluid or from solid substrate. This influences the environment by altering subsurface minerals and geochemistry. I’m currently looking for evidence of how microbes influence mineralogy at East Pacific Rise 9.5°N, using Synchrotron microprobe X-ray fluorescence mapping (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and X-ray absorption spectroscopies (XAS) to map element distributions and phase identification for crystalline and poorly-crystalline minerals. With this information we can describe how minerals change in space and time during the transition from active to inactive venting, providing context for understanding microbial community patterns. Using bioelectrochemistry, I also found evidence of microbes capable of influencing cool, oxic basalt at North Pond, Mid-Atlantic ridge through directly transferring electrons from the minerals. Overall, our results are attempting to understand how microbes and minerals influence each other and local geochemistry in the deep marine seafloor.
Dr. Rose Jones is a postdoc at University of Minnesota. She previously was a postdoc at Bigelow Laboratory, and won her PhD from Bangor University in the UK. Her research interest is in understanding how microbe-mineral interactions influence microbes and minerals in the non-standard conditions of extreme environments.