Geobiological Feedbacks and the Evolution of Thermoacidophiles

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-4-2019


Feedbacks between biological and geological processes drove the co-evolution of life and its environment. Yet, little is known of the nature of these feedbacks and the time scales over which they occur. Here we describe a series of geobiological feedbacks that have played out over the past ~1.1 to 0.8 Ga and that shaped the co-evolution of thermoacidophiles and their acidic hotspring habitats. Future experimentation will evaluate kinetic controls on the acid-generating reactions and the physiological adaptations that allowed microbes to exploit these reactions to fuel their metabolisms.

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Eric Boyd is associate professor of microbiology at MSU. He studies the geomicrobiology of rock-hosted eco-systems as analogs for microbial metabolism on Earth. Specifically, his work focuses on life prior to photosynthesis and how it diversified in response to changing availabilities of mineral-sourced nutrients. Eric was an undergraduate at Iowa State University. His Ph.D. is from MSU in microbiology.