Emerging biogeochemical views of Earth's ancient microbial worlds
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Microbial processes dominate geochemical cycles at and near the Earth’s surface today. Their role was even greater in the past, with microbes being the dominant life form for the first 90% of Earth’s history. Most of their metabolic pathways originated billions of years ago as both causes and effects of environmental changes of the highest order, such as the first accumulation of oxygen in the oceans and atmosphere. Microbial processes leave behind diverse geochemical fingerprints that can remain intact for billions of years. These rock-bound signatures are now steering our understanding of how life coevolved with the environments on early Earth and are guiding our search for life elsewhere in the universe.
Lyons , T W , Fike , D A & Zerkle , A L 2015 , ' Emerging biogeochemical views of Earth's ancient microbial worlds ' Elements , vol. 11 , no. 6 , pp. 415-421 . DOI: 10.2113/gselements.11.6.415
© 2015 by the Mineralogical Society of America. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.2113/gselements.11.6.41
DescriptionThis work was supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute under Cooperative Agreement No. NNA15BB03A issued through the Science Mission Directorate (TWL), a Natural Environment Research Council Fellowship (NE/H016805/2) (AZ), and National Science Foundation grants (EAR-0951509, OCE-1061476, EAR-1124389, and OCE-1155346) and a Packard Fellowship (DAF).
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