Algae through time and space


Lynn Rothschild, Ph.D.
NASA/Ames Research Center

Wednesday, April 1, 1998
3:30 p.m.—Pacific Forum

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Algae are critical for marine processes, although not an obvious area of expertise for a NASA scientist. In this seminar, I present some of my research on algae at NASA, conducted under the rubric of "astrobiology."

In the Earth sciences program, there is great interest in global biogeochemical cycles. The coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi plays an important role in carbon and sulfur cycling. Work on bloom induction in this species will be presented. In the space sciences program, the emphasis is on early evolution and life on other planets. Here, algal mats were studied as models for Precambrian ecosystems and potential early ecosystems on Mars. Diurnal patterns of carbon fixation and nucleic acid synthesis will be presented, as well as the effect of elevated levels of pCO2 and UV radiation. The effect of UV on DNA damage, both on the Earth and during interplanetary transfer, will also be discussed.

Next: Biological-physical coupling in the equatorial Pacific during El Niņo

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