A New Frontier for Palaeobiology

Earth's Vast Deep Biosphere

Sean McMahon*, Magnus Ivarsson

*Kontaktforfatter for dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewForskningpeer review

Resumé

Diverse micro-organisms populate a global deep biosphere hosted by rocks and sediments beneath land and sea, containing more biomass than any other biome except forests. This paper reviews an emerging palaeobiological archive of these dark habitats: microfossils preserved in ancient pores and fractures in the crust. This archive, seemingly dominated by mineralized filaments (although rods and coccoids are also reported), is presently far too sparsely sampled and poorly understood to reveal trends in the abundance, distribution, or diversity of deep life through time. New research is called for to establish the nature and extent of the fossil record of Earth's deep biosphere by combining systematic exploration, rigorous microanalysis, and experimental studies of both microbial preservation and the formation of abiotic pseudofossils within the crust. It is concluded that the fossil record of Earth's largest microbial habitat may still have much to tell us about the history of life, the evolution of biogeochemical cycles, and the search for life on Mars.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer1900052
TidsskriftBioEssays
Vol/bind41
Udgave nummer8
Antal sider11
ISSN0265-9247
DOI
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2019

Fingeraftryk

Ecosystem
Earth (planet)
Mars
Sediments
Biomass
Rocks
History
Research

Citer dette

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title = "A New Frontier for Palaeobiology: Earth's Vast Deep Biosphere",
abstract = "Diverse micro-organisms populate a global deep biosphere hosted by rocks and sediments beneath land and sea, containing more biomass than any other biome except forests. This paper reviews an emerging palaeobiological archive of these dark habitats: microfossils preserved in ancient pores and fractures in the crust. This archive, seemingly dominated by mineralized filaments (although rods and coccoids are also reported), is presently far too sparsely sampled and poorly understood to reveal trends in the abundance, distribution, or diversity of deep life through time. New research is called for to establish the nature and extent of the fossil record of Earth's deep biosphere by combining systematic exploration, rigorous microanalysis, and experimental studies of both microbial preservation and the formation of abiotic pseudofossils within the crust. It is concluded that the fossil record of Earth's largest microbial habitat may still have much to tell us about the history of life, the evolution of biogeochemical cycles, and the search for life on Mars.",
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A New Frontier for Palaeobiology : Earth's Vast Deep Biosphere. / McMahon, Sean; Ivarsson, Magnus.

I: BioEssays, Bind 41, Nr. 8, 1900052, 08.2019.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

T1 - A New Frontier for Palaeobiology

T2 - Earth's Vast Deep Biosphere

AU - McMahon, Sean

AU - Ivarsson, Magnus

PY - 2019/8

Y1 - 2019/8

N2 - Diverse micro-organisms populate a global deep biosphere hosted by rocks and sediments beneath land and sea, containing more biomass than any other biome except forests. This paper reviews an emerging palaeobiological archive of these dark habitats: microfossils preserved in ancient pores and fractures in the crust. This archive, seemingly dominated by mineralized filaments (although rods and coccoids are also reported), is presently far too sparsely sampled and poorly understood to reveal trends in the abundance, distribution, or diversity of deep life through time. New research is called for to establish the nature and extent of the fossil record of Earth's deep biosphere by combining systematic exploration, rigorous microanalysis, and experimental studies of both microbial preservation and the formation of abiotic pseudofossils within the crust. It is concluded that the fossil record of Earth's largest microbial habitat may still have much to tell us about the history of life, the evolution of biogeochemical cycles, and the search for life on Mars.

AB - Diverse micro-organisms populate a global deep biosphere hosted by rocks and sediments beneath land and sea, containing more biomass than any other biome except forests. This paper reviews an emerging palaeobiological archive of these dark habitats: microfossils preserved in ancient pores and fractures in the crust. This archive, seemingly dominated by mineralized filaments (although rods and coccoids are also reported), is presently far too sparsely sampled and poorly understood to reveal trends in the abundance, distribution, or diversity of deep life through time. New research is called for to establish the nature and extent of the fossil record of Earth's deep biosphere by combining systematic exploration, rigorous microanalysis, and experimental studies of both microbial preservation and the formation of abiotic pseudofossils within the crust. It is concluded that the fossil record of Earth's largest microbial habitat may still have much to tell us about the history of life, the evolution of biogeochemical cycles, and the search for life on Mars.

KW - deep biosphere

KW - fossil bacteria

KW - fossil fungi

KW - fossil microbes

KW - palaeobiology

KW - subsurface

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DO - 10.1002/bies.201900052

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