Our project, in collaboration with Bruce Fouke in the Department of Geology at UIUC and Alison Murray at the Desert Research Institute, seeks to understand the origin of the unusual landscape at geothermal hot springs: why is the landscape so characteristically architectured, and not just a pile of rock? What determines the size and shape of the features, such as ponds and terraces? What is the role of thermophilic microbes in the formation of these patterns?
In order to address these questions, we are forced to confront a host of scientific questions that are germane to a full understanding of the Earth's biosphere. How can we identify microorganisms, when most of those present in the wild have not been cultured? What can we deduce about their metabolisms? How does their metabolic activity affect and in turn is affected by the chemical processes of the environment? Our Yellowstone project is developing new techniques to address the problems, as well as providing insight into one of the most interesting and extreme environments on the Earth's surface.
Credits. The results reported on this web site were generated by Pak Yuen Chan, John Veysey and Nigel Goldenfeld, and rendered with assistance from Nicholas Guttenberg. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the National Park Service at Yellowstone National Park during this project.
A technical report about our simulation work is available online.
Based on research supported by the National Science Foundation Biocomplexity in the Environment Program, through grant number NSF-EAR-02-21743. (c) 2006. Nigel Goldenfeld, Pak Yuen Chan, Nicholas Guttenberg and John Veysey. All rights reserved.
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