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Geographic Patterns/Visualization

Scientists provide insight on the distribution of microbes that impact public health and ecosystem function.

Microbiology

Geographic Patterns/Visualization Research Activities

In traditional microbiology course students would hear the often quoted, ”Everything is Everywhere” with regard to microbes. This often appeared to be the case when some strains of microbes could be sampled and cultured in numerous locations throughout the world. The introduction of whole assemblage genetic fingerprinting on environmental samples has shown researchers that many microbes exist that to date have not been culturable. Using these tools scientists are looking to understand geographic patterns of microbes including presence, absence or reduced numbers, given the availability of specific metabolic sources, temperatures, primary production, and salinity gradient among others.

 

Phospholipid fatty acids and soil health map. Image credit: J. Holloway, USGS
Regional map showing the location of the ICDP-USGS Eyreville drill site in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure (CBIS)
Map showing the locations of cave-bearing carbonate strata and sites infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS) before July 2010 in the southeastern United States. Sites are numbered in the approximate order in which WNS infection was detected.
Continental Patterns - Geochemical Landscapes Pilot Study Deep Biosphere - Deep Biosphere Studies at the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure Geology and Meteorology - Sites Infected with White-Nose Syndrome before July 2010 in the Southeastern United States

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geochemical Landscapes Pilot Study (2004)
Phospholipid fatty acids and soil health map. Image credit: J. Holloway, USGS
Phospholipid fatty acids are used as an indicator of soil health in the Geochemical Landscapes project. Image credit: J. Holloway, USGS
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Soil microbial communities govern mineral weathering through the production of enzymes and organic acids that accelerate rates of reaction. The intertwining of soil chemistry and microbiology were examined through the Geochemical Landscapes pilot study (2004). This study addressed variations in soil chemistry on both continental and regional scales. Mineral soils for the continental study were collected along N-S (Manitoba to Texas) and E-W transects (along the 38th parallel) for analysis of major and trace chemical concentrations and microbial indices, including phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA; n=182) and enzyme assays (n=251). Continental-scale soil samples reveal distinct patterns of microbial biomass and composition that are largely governed by climatic variations and related variations in organic carbon. These data and archived samples were used as the basis for Mark Waldrop's project, Terragenomics: Continental scale patterns in soil microbial diversity, which expands upon this original study.

For more information contact David B. SmithCentral Region Mineral Resources Science CenterMartin B. GoldhaberCrustal Imaging & Characterization TeamJoAnn M. HollowayCrustal Imaging & Characterization Team; Richard Dick, Ohio State University; Kate M. Scow, U.C. Davis; and Rebecca Drenovsky, John Carroll University.


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Deep Biosphere Studies at the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure
Regional map showing the location of the ICDP-USGS Eyreville drill site in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure (CBIS)
Regional map showing the location of the ICDP-USGS Eyreville drill site in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure (CBIS).
Coring rig set up in Eyreville, VA. Photo credit: Mary Voytek, USGS
Coring rig set up in Eyreville, VA. Photo credit: Mary Voytek, USGS.

This project was funded by the USGS and the ICDP. In the fall of 2005, continuously cored sections were acquired from two holes drilled to a composite depth of 1,766 m at a site within the central part of the structure near Cape Charles, Virginia, USA. The buried CBIS is the seventh largest, and one of the best preserved, of the known impact structures on Earth. The primary objectives of this project are to: understand the deep subsurface biosphere at this unique site; obtain detailed information on the subsurface structure and crater fill of one of the best preserved large impact structures; to correlate these data with the geophysical studies that were recently completed or are in progress; to determine the presence and composition of melt bodies in the crater fill; and to perform comparative geochemical (including isotopic) and petrographical studies of the crater fill breccias, possible melt rocks and basement rocks.

Microbiological enumeration and culture and culture-independent methods coupled with geochemical data suggest the presence of three major microbiological zones. For details on the microbiology, visit the project summary Deep Biosphere Studies at the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure.

For more information view the following publication:

G. S. Gohn, C. Koeberl, K. G. Miller, W. U. Reimold, J. V. Browning, C. S. Cockell, J. W. Horton, Jr., T. Kenkmann, A. A. Kulpecz, D. S. Powars, W. E. Sanford, and M. A. Voytek. Deep Drilling into the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure. Science 27 June 2008: 1740-1745.

Also contact Mary VoytekVoytek Microbiology.

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Geology and Meteorology of Sites Infected with White-Nose Syndrome before July 2010 in the Southeastern United States
Map showing the locations of cave-bearing carbonate strata and sites infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS) before July 2010 in the southeastern United States. Sites are numbered in the approximate order in which WNS infection was detected.
Map showing the locations of cave-bearing carbonate strata and sites infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS) before July 2010 in the southeastern United States. Sites are numbered in the approximate order in which WNS infection was detected. See map for additional details.

Since 2006, numerous bat colonies in North America have experienced dramatic and unusual incidences of mortality. In these colonies, bats are infected by a white fungus named Geomyces destructans, which has been observed on bat muzzles, noses, ears, and (or) wings. Although it is not exactly certain how and why these bats are dying, this condition has been named white-nose syndrome (WNS). WNS has spread from an initial infection site at a cave in New York, and was first identified south of Pennsylvania during January 2009. By the end of June 2010, 41 infected sites had identified in the States of West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Tennessee. Most of these sites are natural caves in limestone of either Cambrian-Ordovician age or Silurian-Devonian age. Published air temperature values in these WNS-infected caves range from -3.3 to 15.6 °C, and humidity measurements range from 68 to 100 %. Publication Citation: Swezey, C.S., and Garrity, C.P. (2011), Notes on the geology and meteorology of sites infected with white-nose syndrome before July 2010 in the southeastern United States: National Speleological Society (NSS) News, v. 69 (2), p. 16-25.

 

For more information, contact Christopher S. Swezey or Christopher P. Garrity (U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia).

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Related Links and References

Scientists*
Bunnell, Joseph E.email  
De Cola, F. Lee  
Goldhaber, Martin B. Phospholipid fatty acids and soil health map. Image credit: J. Holloway, USGS
Helterbrand, Wm. Steve  
Holloway, JoAnn M. Phospholipid fatty acids and soil health map. Image credit: J. Holloway, USGS
Smith, David B. Phospholipid fatty acids and soil health map. Image credit: J. Holloway, USGS
Voytek, Mary Regional map showing the location of the ICDP-USGS Eyreville drill site in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure (CBIS)
Waldrop, Mark P.
 

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*this list of USGS scientists involved in geographic patterns/visualization and microbiology is likely to be incomplete


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