OMSI Science Pub: Deep Sea Hotsprings

Monday, October 5 at 7:00pm  |  $5 suggested donation at door  |

OMSI Science Pub presents:
Deep Sea Hotsprings
With Anna-Louise Reysenbach, PhD, Professor of Microbiology in the Biology Department at PSU

Most of the biodiversity of life on Earth is microbial. These microscopic organisms occupy almost any conceivable habitat where there is available water, energy and carbon for growth. They live in some of the most salty, cold, hot, nutrient-starved, dry and acidic places on this planet, and they form critical partnerships with many other organisms, including us. At deep-sea vents, microorganisms form the base of the food web, fueling the chemosynthetic-based ecosystem. Here, as the very hot hydrothermal fluids mix with the cold seawater, minerals precipitate out a solution to form mineral deposits called ‘chimneys’. These porous rocks provide habitats for a plethora of new
heat-loving microbes, thermophiles.

Using a combination of genomic, ecological and microbiological approaches, Dr Reysenbach will provide insights into how the geology and geochemistry at the deep-sea vents helps drive the diversity of microbes in these systems, and has led to the discovery of many novel branches on the Tree of Life. Many of these organisms have potential medical and industrial applications, and help inform us better when looking for signs of life elsewhere in the Solar System.

Dr. Reysenbach is a microbial ecologist whose research focuses on life in high temperature environments. Her work has taken her to many of the terrestrial and deep-sea hot springs around the world. She has led deep-sea research expeditions using the submersible, Alvin or remotely operated vehicle, Jason to work on the microbes that inhabit the high temperature deep-sea vents. She is internationally known for her research using a combination of genomic and microbial culturing approaches to explore the diversity of microbes in these extreme environments. She has published her research in journals such as Nature and Science, and has participated in several documentaries for BBC, NOVA, OPB among others. She has served on NASA’s Planetary
Science Subcommittee and the National Research Council, and serves as an editor for several scientific journals. Her research has been funded by NSF and NASA. Dr. Reysenbach has a Ph.D. from University of Cape Town, South Africa and is Professor of Microbiology in the Biology Department at Portland State University.



Tuesday, October 6