Bio. Sci. Seminar - Dr. Goordial

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Virtual Event

Thursday, October 22, 2020 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Event Details

This is a past event.


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Passcode: 77Y5$3J


Dr. Jackie Goordial
Assistant Professor
School of Environtmental Sciences
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario

Presentation Title: Searching for vital signs at the cold-arid limit of life: Microbial life in the dry-permafrost of the  McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica 


Abstract: Cryoenvironments on Earth represent a naturallaboratory in which we can observe the natural constraints to microbial activity and survival at low temperature. Characterized as among the most old, cold and arid environments on Earth, the Upper McMurdo Dry Valleys (UDV) in Antarctica, are one of the harshest environments on earth for life. Soils experience wide temperature fluctuations, cold temperatures, extreme aridity, high incidence radiation and physical disturbance, and were once considered to be 'sterile'. This region is one of the rare places on Earth where there is the presence of both permanently frozen ice-cemented ground (permafrost) overlain with a layer of dry, ice-free permafrost soil. This talk will describe the microbiology of soils in University Valley – a rare site in which microbial activity cannot be measured. Though the signs of active life were absent, the valley is by no means dead. I will describe the evidence for the survival, dormancy and activity of microorganisms in this valley, and how what we learn here may inform the search for life beyond Earth. 


All Bio. Sci. Seminars will be virtual and recorded.

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