Extremities:  Geology and Life in Yellowstone and Implications for Other Worlds

OCTOPUS SPRING - 3 - Sampling

With permission from the National Park Service, Dr. Ward collected a small sample of an Octopus Spring microbial mat for us to use later in his laboratory.

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Octopus Springs from the south, with the deep hot pools in the distance. The mat we sampled is just to the left (west) of the mid-left edge of this view.

 

Maggie measures water temperature with her techie hand-held gadget, which measures how much thermal infrared light the water emits. In these wavelengths (> 5 micrometers) light emitted by objects (like hot water) is much brighter than sunlight. The temperature was 60°C.

 

 

 

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Dr. Marcel van der Meer, post-doctoral researcher working with Dr. Ward , samples the water to analyze its chemistry. Its pH was 8 (using a pH meter), and it contains almost no sulfur (from a color-changing reagent).

 


Dr. Ward samples the microbial mat with a spatula. The white rectangle, the scar where the sample was, is spring-deposited silica. The top green layer community is dominated by the cyanobacterium Synechococcus; the bottom pink layer community is dominated by the 'green' non-sulfur bacterium Chloroflexus. We took this sample back to Dr. Ward's lab for microscopy and reflectance spectroscopy.


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Updated 11/15/02.
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