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Infinitely Small to Infinitely Great: The Search for Microbial Life on Other Worlds

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Date and time
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Very little is known about most of the deep-sea organisms on this planet. Since these organisms represent “extreme life,” they provide potential insights about how life might emerge on other worlds. Dr. Girguis describes innovative studies of some deep-sea organisms, the technological advances that are making these investigations possible, and the exciting collaboration between marine biologists and astrophysicists.

Peter Girguis grew up in Los Angeles and has been entranced by the oceans since youth. Girguis' research focuses on microbial physiology and the role that autotrophic microbes play in deep ocean carbon and nitrogen cycling. His research also focuses on developing new sensors for use in the deep oceans, and he is currently developing several new instruments for use at hydrothermal vents. Girguis received his BSc from the UCLA and his PhD from UC Santa Barbara. He was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and is currently an assistant professor in Harvard University's Department of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology.