Title

Western Australia Extreme Environments

Presenter Information

Kate Schlarman

Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Major

Geology and Geophysics

Research Advisor

Oboh-Ikuenobe, Francisca

Advisor's Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Funding Source

Missouri S&T Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences (OURE) Program; National Science Foundation; Dr. Al Spreng Undergraduate Research Award

Abstract

Studies of hypersaline lakes on Earth provide insights into extreme conditions in which life may arise on other planets. We present palynological analysis of cores from three hypersaline lakes in Western Australia (Cowan Basin, Oldenberg Farm, Twin Lake West) that constrain environmental conditions during the Holocene. Dispersed organic matter preserved in the sediments includes structured phytoclasts (wood, cuticles, etc.), degraded and comminuted phytoclasts, and fungal remains. Identified pollen grains blown in from the surrounding areas include Myrtaceae (Eucalyptus pollen), Chenopodiaceae (saltbush pollen), and Poaceae (grass pollen). The discovery of Dunaliella (algae that lived within the lakes) demonstrates that such organisms can survive and thrive in hypersaline extreme environments that are analogous to those on Mars.

Biography

Kate Schlarman is a junior Geology and Geophysics major interested in connections between biological and earth sciences.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Presentation Date

06 Apr 2011, 9:00 am - 11:45 am

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Apr 6th, 9:00 AM Apr 6th, 11:45 AM

Western Australia Extreme Environments

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Studies of hypersaline lakes on Earth provide insights into extreme conditions in which life may arise on other planets. We present palynological analysis of cores from three hypersaline lakes in Western Australia (Cowan Basin, Oldenberg Farm, Twin Lake West) that constrain environmental conditions during the Holocene. Dispersed organic matter preserved in the sediments includes structured phytoclasts (wood, cuticles, etc.), degraded and comminuted phytoclasts, and fungal remains. Identified pollen grains blown in from the surrounding areas include Myrtaceae (Eucalyptus pollen), Chenopodiaceae (saltbush pollen), and Poaceae (grass pollen). The discovery of Dunaliella (algae that lived within the lakes) demonstrates that such organisms can survive and thrive in hypersaline extreme environments that are analogous to those on Mars.