Understanding the mechanisms and processes of shaping the Earth’s surface is fundamental to life on Earth and of major interest to geomorphological, geological, soil ecological, microbiological and hydrological sciences.
Microbial communities of the terrestrial surface and subsurface drive the formation and consumption of the greenhouse gases (GHG) CO2 and CH4. They are thus key reagents of climate-induced feedbacks on our Earth surface capable both of accelerating and mitigating Global Change.
The pore space in sediments as well as fractures in magmatic or metamorphic rocks forms a giant ecosystems that spans around the entire globe. Despite its large size we still have very little knowledge about the microbes in this environment, their metabolic capabilities and their interaction with their geologic surrounding and the surface world.
Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary research topic that deals with fundamental questions about the development of life, and the physical and chemical conditions that influence this process.