The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Subsurface Biogeochemistry Science Focus Area (SFA) team is investigating the ways in which intersecting biological, chemical, and physical processes shape the terrestrial subsurface, with feedbacks to the regional or global system. Remarkably little is known about the biology of the subsurface, especially below the soil zone. In this project, researchers seek to uncover the diversity of organisms that exist in a well studied aquifer (saturated) and overlying vadose (unsaturated) zone sediments (not to include soil), to provide information about the likely metabolic potential of these organisms and communities, to determine the extent of organism and process heterogeneity, to constrain the drivers of heterogeneity and shifts in community composition and to constrain rates of change. The predictions of microbial metabolic potential from genomic data will be inputs into Berkeley Lab’s Genome-Enabled Watershed Simulation Capability (GEWaSC) modeling effort. The GEWaSC modeling approach is being developed and tested through application to an extensive suite of samples from the Rifle aquifer, adjacent to the Colorado River, CO.
Proposer’s Name: Jill Banfield, University of California, Berkeley