Roger Summons explains the role of microbial activity in the formation of oolitic sand
In June 2013, Roger Summons and postdoc Ben Kotrc, with colleague Tanja Bosak, embarked on a field excursion to several sites in Western Australia as part of an Education and Public Outreach project under the auspices of the NASA Astrobiology Institute headquartered in the Summons lab and carried out in partnership with our NAI colleagues at ASU. The aim of the trip was to gather material for developing a Virtual Fieldtrip to several sites of tremendous importance to understanding early life—including Shark Bay, home to the best-known living stromatolites, Karijini National Park, with spectacular exposures of Banded Iron Formation linked to the oxygenation of the atmosphere, and North Pole dome, home to some of the oldest evidence of life.
Tagging along with the Astrobiology Grand Tour organized by Malcolm Walter of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at UNSW, and teaming up with our VFT-making colleagues Ariel Anbar, Geoffrey Bruce, Lev Horodyskyj, and Jessica Swann from ASU, we returned with 13 location-based sphericals for that “Google street view” pan-around-360˚ experience, 4 gigapans, 277 video clips and well over 2000 images.
As an exciting first this year (the Summons lab has been working on the development of these VFTs for several years), Geoffrey Bruce brought a video-camera-equipped quad copter (think: drone), capturing a dramatic new perspective—from high up in the sky—at sites like the stromatolites in Shark Bay and fly-throughs of Dales Gorge at Karijini National Park.
A majority of Summons lab members traveled to the island of Tenerife, Spain last week to attend the 26th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry (IMOG 2013). Posters and presentations delivered included:
- Recent graduate Sara Lincoln on DISENTANGLING MARINE PLANKTONIC ARCHAEAL COMMUNITIES AND THEIR MEMBRANE LIPID ASSEMBLAGES,
- Roger Summons on THE BIOGEOCHEMISTRY OF OOIDS AND OOLITES,
- Julio Sepúlveda on VERTICAL AND SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION OF INTACT AND CORE ARCHAEAL LIPIDS IN RESPONSE TO OXYGENATION GRADIENTS,
- Kate French on ASSESSING THE DISTRIBUTION OF CAROTENOIDS THROUGH TIME USING TANDEM MASS SPECTROMETRY,
- Sharon Newman on ETHER LIPID ASSESSMENT AT THE SEMAIL OPHIOLITE, OMAN: MICROBIAL DIVERSITY IN A SERPENTINITE-HOSTED ECOSYSTEM,
- Florence Schubotz on the INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS ON MICROBIAL MEMBRANE LIPID DISTRIBUTION AT HOT SPRINGS IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK as well as (!) BACTERIAL SOURCES FOR BETAINE LIPIDS IN ANOXIC MARINE SEDIMENTS,
- Emily Matys on BACTERIOHOPANEPOLYOLS IN OCEAN WATERS SUBJECT TO OXYGENATION GRADIENTS,
- Ross Williams on COMBINED BACTERIAL MEMBRANE LIPID AND COMPOUND-SPECIFIC ISOTOPIC INVESTIGATION OF EOCENE ARCTIC PALEOSOLS.
Roger Summons is featured in an article in The Onion, entitled “Planet Earth Doesn’t Know How To Make It Any Clearer It Wants Everyone To Leave.”