Rock-microbe interactions and their contribution to shale weathering and erosion
In this study, a range of approaches are used to determine the role of microbiology in the weathering and erosion of shale cliffs on the Whitbian coast.
Phenotypic plate assays demonstrate that ferromanganese crusts on shale rock surfaces from cliff, disused mine and other environments yield microbial communities with a high diversity of rock weathering phenotypes and metabolisms. The activity of such microbial communities is then indicated in two in vitro weathering experiments in which the presence of microbes alters the rate of elemental leaching from weathered rock, as identified by ICP-OES analysis.
Finally, using these microbial communities as an inocula, a series of low nutrient enrichments with media lacking iron and carbon are described. The isolation of the bacterial species Variovorax paradoxus and its potential ability to utilize rock bound carbon is discussed.
These lines of evidence are used to corroborate the assertion that microbial communities in shale rock on the Whitbian coast interact and alter their geological environment. These interactions potentially play a significant role in influencing the erosion rates of this receding coastline.
This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..