The deep, dark energy biosphere

Intraterrestrial life on earth

Katrina J. Edwards, Keir Becker, Frederick Colwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most ecosystems on Earth exist in permanent darkness, one or more steps removed from the light-driven surface world. This collection of dark habitats is the most poorly understood on Earth, in particular the size, function, and activity of these ecosystems and what influence they have on global biogeochemical processes. The vastest of these ecosystems constitute the "deep biosphere"-habitats physically located below the surface of continents and the bottom of the ocean. The deep biosphere has been the subject of considerable-and increasing-study and scrutiny in recent years. New deep biosphere realms are being explored from deep in mines in South Africa, to sediments in the middle of oceanic gyres-and beyond. New technologies are emerging, permitting researchers to do active, manipulable experimentation in situ within the subsurface. This review highlights recent history of the research and the exciting new directions this field of research is going in, and discusses some of the most active and interesting field realms currently under scrutiny by researchers examining this deep, dark, intraterrestrial life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-568
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

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biosphere
ecosystems
dark energy
habitats
ecosystem
gyres
energy
darkness
Republic of South Africa
experimentation
habitat
continents
emerging
oceans
sediments
histories
ocean
history
sediment

Keywords

  • Continental subsurface
  • Extreme environments
  • Geochemistry
  • Geomicrobiology
  • Hydrogeology
  • Marine microbiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

The deep, dark energy biosphere : Intraterrestrial life on earth. / Edwards, Katrina J.; Becker, Keir; Colwell, Frederick.

In: Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 40, 05.2012, p. 551-568.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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