Hinrichs Lab - ERC Project DARCLIFE
DARCLIFE: Deep subsurface Archaea: carbon cycle, life strategies, and role in sedimentary ecosystems
|Duration:||April 2010 - March 2015|
|Funding:||European Research Council (ERC)|
ERC Advanced Grant
(Project AdvG 247153)
|Topics:||biomarkers, deep biosphere, biogeochemical processes, analytical innovations|
|Principal Investigator:||Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hinrichs|
|Involved Scientists in the Hinrichs Lab:||see DARCLIFE-Team|
|PhD Students:||see DARCLIFE-Team|
|Partners:||Dr. Harald Huber (Archaeenzentrum/Universität Regensburg), Dr. Boris Koch (Alfred-Wegener-Institut/MARUM, Bremerhaven), Dr. Gesine Mollenhauer (Alfred-Wegener-Institut/MARUM, Bremerhaven), Dr. Alban Ramette (Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie, Bremen), Prof. Dr. Andreas Teske (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA), Prof. Dr. Michael Thomm (Archaeenzentrum/Universität Regensburg), Dr. Matthias Zabel (MARUM/Universität Bremen)|
DARCLIFE studies the deep biosphere with an interdisciplinary project design involving biogeochemistry, earth sciences, and microbiology. Funding was granted to Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hinrichs by the European Research Council in the form of a frontier research project.
Marine sediments are of crucial importance to the redox balance and climate of our planet but the regulating role of the deep biosphere remains one of the great puzzles in biogeochemistry. The unique and diverse sedimentary Archaea with no cultured representatives, so-called benthic archaea, are key to understanding this system.
DARCLIFE aims to constrain the role of benthic archaea in the carbon cycle and to explore their life strategies. Archaea are increasingly recognized as globally abundant organisms that mediate important processes controlling greenhouse gases and nutrients. They appear to dominate the biomass in the deep subseafloor biosphere. Their unique ability to cope with extreme energy starvation might be a selecting factor. Their presumed ability to degrade complex recalcitrant organic residues highlights their relevance for the carbon cycle and as potential targets for biotechnology.
Central to our research strategy is the information contained in structural and isotopic properties of membrane lipids from benthic archaea. In-depth geochemical examination of their habitat will elucidate processes they mediate. Metagenomic analysis will provide a phylogenetic framework and further insights on metabolism. At the Archaeenzentrum in Regensburg, we will grow model Archaea under a set of environmental conditions and examine the impact on cellular lipid distributions in order to develop the full potential of lipids as proxies for studying nearly inaccessible microbial life. Attempts to enrich benthic archaea from sediments will complement this approach.
For more details on the project structure and goals of the five subprojects see: DARCLIFE
For information on publications see: DARCLIFE