Environmental Monitor

From February 2015 to November 2015 I was a freelance science writing intern for Fondriest Environmental's magazine Environmental Monitor, which covers technological advancements in monitoring systems for air and water quality in oceans, lakes, rivers and streams. Here you will find my entire collection of short briefs and longer form features written for the magazine. 

Microbial life discovered up to 75 meters below the seafloor

By Cassie Kelly, April 8, 2015

Groundbreaking new discoveries of the ocean’s depths have found that life can survive in the darkest places on Earth, according to a release from the National Science Foundation.

Marine scientists from around the world found microbial life surviving deep beneath the sediment of the ocean floor in seven locations of the South Pacific gyre. This ocean region was widely considered the deadest region of the oceans.

It was previously thought that there wasn’t any oxygen to support life below the top layer of the ocean floor sediment. But, the research revealed that the sediment is very light-weight, accumulated over millions of years. The microbes have very low respiration, making them difficult to detect.

“We found that there is no limit to life in this sediment,” said Steven D’Hondt, scientist at the University of Rhode Island and lead author of the paper. “Oxygen and aerobic microbes hang in there all the way to the igneous basement, to at least 75 meters below the seafloor.”

The scientists believe this discovery may lead to a better understanding of the chemical evolution of Earth and how life came to be.

Read the original story, published in Environmental Monitor, here