October 11, 2016

Peter Girguis

Is Climate Change Affecting Life in The Deep Sea?

BU’s Seminar Series on Climate Change

October 11, 2016
4:00 - 5:00pm CAS 132, 675 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA

Speaker: Peter Girguis
Professor of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology
Harvard University

The deep sea is the largest habitat on Earth, and harbors the much -if not the majority-  of Earth’s biodiversity.  While scientists and policymakers have understandably focused their attention on how climate change is influencing terrestrial and shallow marine habitats such as coral reefs, there is growing evidence that changes in our atmosphere are resulting in chemical changes in the deep sea.  Here I will present an overview of life in the deep sea, and will discuss their potential sensitivities and strengths in coping with the thermal and chemical changes on our planet. It is my hope that you will leave this presentation armed with a better understanding of how the deep sea might respond to ongoing changes in climate, so that we can more appropriately manage our planet’s natural resources.

Bio:  His research resides at the crossroads of microbial ecology, physiology, and biogeochemistry, and as such is highly interdisciplinary. He uses the appropriate combinations of molecular biology (e.g., genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, qPCR, mutagenesis), as well as physiological and geochemical techniques (gas chromatography, in situ and laboratory mass spectrometry, in situ and laboratory isotope analyses, x-ray diffraction, atomic spectroscopy) to examine the relationship between microbial diversity/physiology and biogeochemical cycles. Due to the limitations of existing in situ measurement and incubation technologies, he and his lab have develop novel instruments and samplers that enable them to better study microbial-geochemical relationships. This includes high-pressure systems to mimic natural environments, in situ geochemical sensors, in situ microbial fuel cells as experimental apparatus and power sources, and novel in situ preservation technologies.

This program is supported in part by a grant to Earth & Environment Professor Dave Marchant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Science Education Program.