Gordon Research Conferences
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Conference Program
 
Geobiology
January 30 - February 4, 2011
Ventura Beach Marriott
Ventura, CA
Chair:
Nora Noffke

Vice Chair:
John F. Stolz

Geobiology studies Earth as a system and explores the past, present and future of the interaction of life with its environment. This GRC assembles biofilm and microbial mat researchers, early life paleontologists, stromatolite sedimentologists, coastal engineers, and molecular biologists with the aim to explore the living Earth and its ancestry. We hope that this fruitful engagement inspires the next generation of geo- and astrobiologists. The GRC documents biofilms, and sediment-stabilizing microbial mats that form typical sedimentary structures such as microbially induced sedimentary structures or stromatolites. In the fossil record such structures are found in banded iron formations, cherts, sandstones, and carbonate rocks. Isotope geochemistry and the study of biomolecules reveal metabolic pathways of early life, and allow conclusions on the evolution of main prokaryotic groups. Astrobiologists apply these concepts for the exploration of life on other planets.


Contributors

SUNDAY
4:00 pm - 8:00 pmArrival and Check-in (Office Closed 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm)
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmWelcome / Introductory Comments by GRC Site Staff
7:40 pm - 9:30 pmGeobiology: Objectives, Significance, Perspectives
Discussion Leader: Bruce Runnegar (University of California)
7:40 pm - 7:50 pmBruce Runnegar (University of California, Los Angeles)
"Opening Remarks"
7:50 pm - 8:25 pm Nora Noffke (Old Dominion University)
"Turbulent Lifestyle: Benthic Cyanobacteria from the Archean Eon to Today"
8:25 pm - 8:40 pm Discussion
8:40 pm - 9:15 pm James Farquar (University of Maryland)
"Sulfur isotoptes: A perspective linking atmospheric evolution and metabolic activity to early Earth"
9:15 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
MONDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmEnvironments of Early Earth
Discussion Leader: Yildirim Dilek (University of Miami, Ohio)
9:00 am - 9:20 amStephen Mojzsis (University of Colorado)
"Environment for early life in the Hadean/Eoarchean Earth"
9:20 am - 9:30 am Discussion
9:30 am - 9:50 amChris Fedo (University of Tennessee)
"Constraints on interpreting environments and potential biogenic matter in highly disrupted Early Archean settings"
9:50 am - 10:00 am Discussion
10:00 am Group Photo / Coffee Break
10:30 am - 10:50 amPascal Philippot (University of Paris, France)
"Multible sources of organic carbon in the 3.5 Ga old volcano-sedimentary succession at North Pole (Dresser Formation, Western Australia)"
10:50 am - 11:00 am Discussion
11:00 am - 11:20 amMark van Zuilen (Institute of Geophysics, Paris, France)
"Sulfur mass independent isotope anomalies in 3.4 Ga sediments of the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa"
11:20 am - 11:30 am Discussion
11:30 am - 11:50 amMark Barley (University of Western Australia)
"The early evolution of Earth’s atmosphere, links to tectonics, and life in the Archean and Paleoproterozoic"
11:50 am - 12:00 pm Discussion
12:00 pm - 12:20 pmLee Kump (The Penn State University)
"Biogeochemical perspectives on the Great Oxidation Event"
12:20 pm - 12:30 pm Discussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session with Wine Reception
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmMicrobial Drapes of Earth’s Oldest Lands and Oceans
Discussion Leader: Therese Sallstedt (Natural History Museum Stockholm, Sweden)
7:30 pm - 7:50 pmKatrina Edwards (University of Southern California)
"Iron oxidation in the early and modern Earth"
7:50 pm - 8:00 pm Discussion
8:00 pm - 8:20 pmAndreas Kappler (University of Tuebingen, Germany)
"Microbiological processes in deposition and diagenesis of Banded Iron Formations"
8:20 pm - 8:30 pm Discussion
8:30 pm - 8:50 pmKurt Konhauser (University of Alberta, Canada)
"The emergence of aerobic metal respiring bacteria on land during the Great Oxidation Event"
8:50 pm - 9:00 pm Discussion
9:00 pm - 9:20 pmAlan Jay Kaufman (University of Maryland)
"Reconstructing Earth’s surface oxidation across the Archean-Proterozoic transition"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
TUESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmMicrobial Architecture: Stromatolites and MISS
Discussion Leader: Penny Morris-Smith (NASA Johnson Space Center, University of Houston)
9:00 am - 9:20 amDawn Sumner (University of California, Davis)
"Extracting microbial community behaviours from microbialite morphology"
9:20 am - 9:30 am Discussion
9:30 am - 9:50 amPam Reid (University of Miami, FL)
"Lessons learned from modern marine stromatolites"
9:50 am - 10:00 am Discussion
10:00 am Coffee Break
10:30 am - 10:50 amBrian Pratt (University of Saskatchewan, Canada)
"Marine Microbial Limestones"
10:50 am - 11:00 am Discussion
11:00 am - 11:20 amDavid Paterson (University of St. Andrews, Scotland)
"Stromatolites, microbial mats and biofilms as ecosystem engineers"
11:20 am - 11:30 am Discussion
11:30 am - 11:50 am Christoph Heubeck (University of Berlin, Germany)
"Towards reconstruction of Middle Archean biomat ecology and metabolisms: Mappable biomats from the Moodies Group (ca. 3.2 Ga), Barberton Greenstone Belt, South"
11:50 am - 12:00 pm Discussion
12:00 pm - 12:20 pm Tony Prave (University of St. Andrews, Scotland)
"Under the Precambrian sunshine: microbial life on land"
12:20 pm - 12:30 pm Discussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmMicrobial Life in Silica
Discussion Leader: Victoria Petryshyn (University of Southern California)
7:30 pm - 7:50 pmDavid Ward (Montana State University)
"Composition, structure and function of hot spring microbial mats considered analogues of stromatolites"
7:50 pm - 8:00 pm Discussion
8:00 pm - 8:20 pmSherry Cady (Portland State University)
"Chemotrophic biofilm contributions to chert"
8:20 pm - 8:30 pm Discussion
8:30 pm - 8:50 pmMaud Walsh (Louisiana State University)
"Microbial mats preserved in the early Archean cherts of the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa"
8:50 pm - 9:00 pm Discussion
9:00 pm - 9:20 pm Andy Czaja (University of Wisconsin)
"Neoarchean and Paleoproterozoic microbial and ecosystem diversity"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
WEDNESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmMicrobial Mats: Complexity in Layers
Discussion Leader: Linda Jahnke (NASA Ames, CA)
9:00 am - 9:20 amDavid Des Marais (NASA Ames, California)
"Marine microbial mats and the exploration for life in deep time and space"
9:20 am - 9:30 am Discussion
9:30 am - 9:50 amThomas Neu (Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research)
"Development of biofilm and microbial mat communities"
9:50 am - 10:00 am Discussion
10:00 am Coffee Break
10:30 am - 10:50 amLucas Stal (The Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
"Structure and function of microbial mats"
10:50 am - 11:00 am Discussion
11:00 am - 11:20 amRon Oremland (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park CA)
"Arsenic and the meaning of life"
11:20 am - 11:30 am Discussion
11:30 am - 11:50 amPieter Visscher (University of Connecticut)
"Formation of lithified micritic laminae in modern marine stromatolites (Bahamas): the role of sulfur cycling"
11:50 am - 12:00 pm Discussion
12:00 pm - 12:20 pm Christophe Dupraz (University of Connecticut)
"Interactions between calcium, magnesium, and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) during the formation and early diagenesis of hypersaline microbial carbonates"
12:20 pm - 12:30 pm Discussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmCommunication in Biofilms
Discussion Leader: Marc Laflamme (Smithsonian Natural History Museum)
7:30 pm - 7:50 pmWilliam Costerton (Allegheny-Singer Research Institute)
"Biofilms - the predominant microbial mode-of-growth in natural systems"
7:50 pm - 8:00 pm Discussion
8:00 pm - 8:20 pmAlan Decho (University of South Carolina)
"Quorum sensing in biofilms under natural conditions: what happens out there?"
8:20 pm - 8:30 pm Discussion
8:30 pm - 8:50 pmAmy Schaefer (Washington University)
"ACYL-HSL quorum sensing and microbial ecology"
8:50 pm - 9:00 pm Discussion
9:00 pm - 9:20 pmPaul Stoodley (University of Southampton, UK)
"Bacterial biofilm formation: an ancient prokaryote survival strategy"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
THURSDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
8:30 am - 9:00 amBusiness Meeting
Nominations for the next Vice Chair; Fill out Conference Evaluation Forms; Discuss future Site & Scheduling preferences; Election of the next Vice Chair
9:00 am - 12:30 pmOrigin of Uni- and Multicellularity
Discussion Leader: James D. Schiffbauer (Virginia Tech)
9:00 am - 9:20 amEmmanuelle Javaux (University of Liege, Belgium)
"Acritarchs in Archean shallow-marine deposits"
9:20 am - 9:30 am Discussion
9:30 am - 9:50 amPaul Strother (Boston College)
"Morphological Complexity in Freshwater Protocists at 1 Ga: Implications for Paleoecology and Evolution"
9:50 am - 10:00 am Discussion
10:00 am Coffee Break
10:30 am - 10:50 amShuhai Xiao (Virginia Tech)
"The role of sulfate reduction in fossil pyritization and pyrite rim formation in early diagenetic chert nodules"
10:50 am - 11:00 am Discussion
11:00 am - 11:20 amStefan Bengtson (Natural History Museum Stockholm, Sweden)
"Mats, colonies, multicellulars - dissecting the Proterozoic mire"
11:20 am - 11:30 am Discussion
11:30 am - 11:50 amDiane Newman (Cal Tech)
"Rethinking the meaning of (2-methyl) hopane biomarkers"
11:50 am - 12:00 pm Discussion
12:00 pm - 12:20 pm Shucheng Xie (University of Wuhan, China)
"Molecular records of microbial changes in Mesoproterozoic rocks of North China"
12:20 pm - 12:30 pm Discussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmLife Elsewhere
Discussion Leader: Carl Pilcher (NASA Ames)
7:30 pm - 7:50 pm Michael New (NASA Headquarters)
"The Co-Evolution of Planets and their Biospheres"
7:50 pm - 8:00 pm Discussion
8:00 pm - 8:20 pmJack Farmer (Arizona State University)
"Science-driven selection of landing sites for future in situ life detection and sample return missions to Mars: the role of terrestrial analogue studies"
8:20 pm - 8:30 pm Discussion
8:30 pm - 9:10 pmJohn Grotzinger (CalTech)
"Mars Science Laboratory: the search for habitable environments and preservation of biosignatures"
9:10 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
FRIDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 amDeparture

 
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