The 35 members of the expedition's scientific party, who represent more than seven nations, coauthored an article in Science entitled "Distributions of Microbial Activities in Deep Subseafloor Sediments." NAI Principal Investigator Steve D'Hondt was co-chief scientist of the expedition and lead author on the Science paper. NAI supported post-cruise analysis of biogeochemical data and pre-cruise development of shipboard biogeochemical techniques.
During the expedition, scientists and technicians onboard the JOIDES Resolution recovered sediments that ranged in age from 0 to 35 million years old from up to 420 meters (m) beneath the seafloor at sites in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and on the continental margin of Peru. These sites, which are typical of subsurface environments that exist throughout most of Earth's ocean, ranged in water depth from 150 m on the Peru Shelf to 5300 m in the Peru Trench and ranged in temperature from 1- to 25 degrees C.
"We found bacteria to be alive hundreds of meters beneath the seafloor," explained D'Hondt. "Their activities are unexpectedly diverse. Some bacterial species recovered and cultured from these sediments were previously unknown. Other species appear to be distributed throughout the entire subsurface world (on land and beneath the sea). Many of their metabolic activities in these sediments ultimately rely for energy on the surface photosynthetic world."
A review of this work can be found at: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;306/5705/2198
And the original publication is here: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/306/5705/2216
-excerpted from the original Joint Oceanographic Institution press release.