Next Article in Journal
Editorial for Special Issue “Microorganisms for Environmental and Industrial Applications”
Previous Article in Journal
Automated Cell Treatment for Competence and Transformation of Escherichia coli in a High-Throughput Quasi-Turbidostat Using Microtiter Plates
Previous Article in Special Issue
Effect of UVC Radiation on Hydrated and Desiccated Cultures of Slightly Halophilic and Non-Halophilic Methanogenic Archaea: Implications for Life on Mars
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Microorganisms 2018, 6(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms6030061

The Microbial Community of a Terrestrial Anoxic Inter-Tidal Zone: A Model for Laboratory-Based Studies of Potentially Habitable Ancient Lacustrine Systems on Mars

1
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
2
Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 60 Nanyang Drive, 637551 Singapore, Singapore
3
Space Research Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 18 June 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 30 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anaerobic Microorganisms in Mars)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2607 KB, uploaded 30 June 2018]   |  

Abstract

Evidence indicates that Gale crater on Mars harboured a fluvio-lacustrine environment that was subjected to physio-chemical variations such as changes in redox conditions and evaporation with salinity changes, over time. Microbial communities from terrestrial environmental analogues sites are important for studying such potential habitability environments on early Mars, especially in laboratory-based simulation experiments. Traditionally, such studies have predominantly focused on microorganisms from extreme terrestrial environments. These are applicable to a range of Martian environments; however, they lack relevance to the lacustrine systems. In this study, we characterise an anoxic inter-tidal zone as a terrestrial analogue for the Gale crater lake system according to its chemical and physical properties, and its microbiological community. The sub-surface inter-tidal environment of the River Dee estuary, United Kingdom (53°21′15.40″ N, 3°10′24.95″ W) was selected and compared with available data from Early Hesperian-time Gale crater, and temperature, redox, and pH were similar. Compared to subsurface ‘groundwater’-type fluids invoked for the Gale subsurface, salinity was higher at the River Dee site, which are more comparable to increases in salinity that likely occurred as the Gale crater lake evolved. Similarities in clay abundance indicated similar access to, specifically, the bio-essential elements Mg, Fe and K. The River Dee microbial community consisted of taxa that were known to have members that could utilise chemolithoautotrophic and chemoorganoheterotrophic metabolism and such a mixed metabolic capability would potentially have been feasible on Mars. Microorganisms isolated from the site were able to grow under environment conditions that, based on mineralogical data, were similar to that of the Gale crater’s aqueous environment at Yellowknife Bay. Thus, the results from this study suggest that the microbial community from an anoxic inter-tidal zone is a plausible terrestrial analogue for studying habitability of fluvio-lacustrine systems on early Mars, using laboratory-based simulation experiments. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mars; lacustrine system; habitability; analogue community Mars; lacustrine system; habitability; analogue community
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material

SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Curtis-Harper, E.; Pearson, V.K.; Summers, S.; Bridges, J.C.; Schwenzer, S.P.; Olsson-Francis, K. The Microbial Community of a Terrestrial Anoxic Inter-Tidal Zone: A Model for Laboratory-Based Studies of Potentially Habitable Ancient Lacustrine Systems on Mars. Microorganisms 2018, 6, 61.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Microorganisms EISSN 2076-2607 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top