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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2011 Sep 6;9(10):703-12. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2647.

Under the sea: microbial life in volcanic oceanic crust.

Author information

  • 1The University of Southern California, Department of Biological Sciences, Los Angeles, 90089, USA. kje@usc.edu

Abstract

Exploration of the microbiology in igneous, 'hard rock' oceanic crust represents a major scientific frontier. The igneous crust harbours the largest aquifer system on Earth, most of which is hydrologically active, resulting in a substantial exchange of fluids, chemicals and microorganisms between oceanic basins and crustal reservoirs. Study of the deep-subsurface biosphere in the igneous crust is technically challenging. However, technologies have improved over the past decade, providing exciting new opportunities for the study of deep-seated marine life, including in situ and cross-disciplinary experimentation in microbiology, geochemistry and hydrogeology. In this Progress article, we describe the recent advances, available technology and remaining challenges in the study of the marine intraterrestrial microbial life that is harboured in igneous oceanic crust.

PMID:
21894169
DOI:
10.1038/nrmicro2647
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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