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Record Search Query:
Activity, Preservation and Fossilization of Cryptoendolithic Microorganisms in Antarctica
Entry ID: USAP-1544526_1


Cryptoendoliths are organisms that colonize microscopic cavities of rocks, which give them protection and allow them to inhabit extreme environments, such as the cold, arid desert of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Fossilized cryptoendoliths preserve the forms and features of organisms from the past and thus provide a unique opportunity to study the organisms' life histories and environments. To ...

Little is known about cryptoendolithic microfossils and their formation processes in cold, arid terrestrial habitats of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, where a legacy of activity is discernible in the form of biosignatures including inorganic materials and microbial fossils that preserve and indicate traces of past biological activity. The overarching goals of the proposed work are: (1) to determine how rates of microbial respiration and biodegradation of organic matter control microbial fossilization; and (2) to characterize microbial fossils and their living counterparts to elucidate mechanisms for fossilization. Using samples collected across an increasingly harsher (more cold and dry) climatic gradient that encompasses living, dead, and fossilized cryptoendolithic microorganisms, the proposed work will: (1) develop an instrument to be used in the field that can measure small concentrations of CO2 in cryptoendolithic habitats in situ; (2) use microscopy techniques to characterize endolithic microorganisms as well as the chemical and morphological characteristics of biosignatures and microbial fossils. A metagenomic survey of microbial communities in these samples will be used to characterize differences in diversity, identify if specific microorganisms (e.g. prokaryotes, eukaryotes) are more capable of surviving under these harsh climatic conditions, and to corroborate microscopic observations of the viability states of these microorganisms.

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Description: NSF Award Abstract
Data Set Citation
Version: 1
Temporal Coverage
Start Date: 2016-09-01T00:00:00.000Z
Stop Date: 2017-08-31T23:59:59.999Z
Location Keywords
Not applicable
Ancillary Keywords
Data Set Progress
Data Center
United States Antarctic Program Data Center
Data Center URL: http://www.usap-dc.org/

Data Center Personnel
Name: Data Manager
Email: info at usap-dc.org
Contact Address:
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
61 Route 9W
City: Palisades
Province or State: NY
Postal Code: 10964
Country: USA
Christopher Omelon
Email: christopher.omelon at mail.mcgill.ca
Contact Address:
University of Kansas Center for Research Inc
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2019-05-09
Last DIF Revision Date: 2019-05-13