Photo: Antarctic marine ascidians (sea squirts) on the sea floor, 70ft from where Palmerolide natural products with Anticancer activiy have been isolated. (photo credit: Bill Baker)
Photo: Detecting signs of microbial life using a sensitive nanomotion detection device.
Methanogenic biodiversity and activity in Arctic and Sub-Antarctic ecosystems affected by climate change.
Photo: Methane gas buring through the ice.
Building capacity in Interdisciplinary Snow Sciences for a Changing World.
Photo: Dr. Murray on the Sierra Nevada crest (near Mount Lincoln) where samples were collected monthly to determine snow physical characteristics, levels of dissolved nutrients, dust, and the diversity of life in the snowpack.
For additional information:
Assessing winter picoplankton distributions and carbon cycling in the North Western Antarctic Peninsula Region
Photo: Murray field team collecting sea ice cores to study the levels of ice biota and nutrients in late winter from an ice floe north of Elephant Island, Antarctica. (photo credit: Abe Borker)
The metagenomics and metatranscriptomics analyses of the Lake Vida brine microbial community reveals lifestyles at the low temperature limits of life.
Geochemistry and Microbiology of the Extreme Aquatic Environment in Lake Vida, East Antarctica. Lake Vida III: Developing a comprehensive understanding of Lake Vida – from the past to the present – life, biogeochemical function, geochemical composition and paleohistory of its microbial inhabitants.
Europa Lander Science Definition Team
Prof. Murray was co‐chair of a team of 21 scientists that set out to establish the science objectives and investigations of NASA’s goals for the first landed mission to the surface of Europa, which are: 1) To search for evidence of life on Europa; 2) To assess the habitability of Europa via in situ techniques uniquely available to a lander mission; and 3) Characterize surface and subsurface properties at the scale of the lander to support future exploration. Europa, a moon of Jupiter is the closest ocean world to Earth, and holds promise as being potentially habitable. The constraints of such a mission are severe – the Europan surface is bombarded by radiation from Jupiter, has no atmosphere, and is a frigid ‐160 oC.
To the report itself:
Past Research Projects
Antarctic Microbial Biology:
Astrobiology of Icy Worlds investigates the detectability of life and biological materials on the surface of icy worlds, with a focus on spectroscopic techniques, and on spectral bands that are not in some way connected to photosynthesis. The primary component is to characterize and quantify methane release from the Alaskan North Slope region and to understand the origin and fate of the methane.
For more information visit the NASA Astrobiology Institute:
Subsurface ice and brine sampling: life detection and characterization in the McMurdo Dry Valleys using an ultrasonic gopher.
Genome Sequencing of two Antarctic bacteria – a marine Actinobacterium, str. PHSC20C1 and a sea-ice associated bacterium, Polaribacter irgensii, 23-P. (Supported by the Marine Microbiology Initiative Program at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation)
GenEx 2 - Gene Expression in Extreme Environments: Extending Microarray Technology to Understand Life at its Limits (Supported by the NSF- LExEn program - LexEn Website
Hydrothermal Microbial Biology:
Vent Epibiont Environmental Genome (VEEG) - A meta-genome level analysis of an extreme microbial symbiosis.
Geobiology and the emergence of terraced architecture during carbonate mineralization.