University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, March 4th 2016
2:30 pm:
Speaker: Jake Bailey, Earth Sciences, U. of Minnesota
Subject: Geobiology and the role of bacteria in the formation of phosphatic mineral deposits

Microbial metabolisms have fundamentally changed the face of our planet, from the production of oxygen by oxygenic photosynthesis, to the formation of certain economically-important ore deposits. And yet, the origins, evolution, and chemical mechanisms of many of these geobiological processes are not well understood. My research group investigates a group of remarkable bacteria, known as sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, which appear to be involved in the formation of calcium phosphate mineral deposits. Understanding how these deposits form is important because they currently serve as the primary source of phosphorus for agriculture, making them a non-renewable resource that is being rapidly depleted. The role of bacteria in the formation of these mineral deposits also has potential implications for paleontology and astrobiology.

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