Please join us on Wednesday, February 25th, from 12:30-1:30 in the Sherman Centre for the latest session of our monthly colloquium.
This month, we’ll be featuring Mark Belan, of Geography and Earth Sciences / Astrobiology.
Mark’s work makes innovative use of the Sherman Centre’s 3D printing facilities to study prehistoric rock-like structures growing on the bottom of Pavilion Lake in British Columbia. Bring your lunch, handle Mark’s 3D-printed microbialites, and hear how digital technology is advancing his research!
The Sherman Centre is located on the first floor of Mills Library. From the main entrance, walk towards the double elevators. Veer left right before you get to them and you will see the Sherman Centre media wall and doors.
Visual Representation of Carbon Isotope Biosignatures in Freshwater Microbialites from Pavilion Lake, British Columbia
The Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP; www.pavilionlake.com) was founded and organized by the NASA Ames Research Center to characterize the microbialite population in Pavilion Lake, British Columbia. Microbialites are rock-like structures believed to be formed through the actions of microbial communities. There is extensive evidence in the geologic record that suggests these structures have been around for billions of years, raising questions as to the onset of microbial life on Earth and the evolution of these microbial systems over time. For the past 10 years, PLRP works as a multidisciplinary effort seeking to advance the understanding of relationships between biology and geochemistry in the formation of these structures, as well as better characterizing signals of life for extraterrestrial analyses (ie: “biosignatures”). My thesis project seeks to investigate the presence and preservation of isotopic biosignatures in microbialite carbonate, as well as designing a visual representation of isotopic data sampled from microbialites from the 2014 field season. This visual representation will serve as a tool for predicting biosignature presence and aid in planning future sampling missions.