School of Mathematics

Charles Cockell

Charles Cockell abstract

Charles CockellAstrobiology and Geobiology, UoE

Life on Extremes

A 'biospace' of life on Earth can be defined by physical and chemical extremes. Using existing data on microbial growth at extremes, this space can be quantified. However, the usual approach to understanding this biospace, which is to look at individual physical and chemical extremes, does not reflect the multiple stresses found in the natural environment. I will discuss proteomics and classical culture experiments from our lab that challenge this simplistic view of the biospace. In rocky environments, the proteome response of organisms is shown to a complex metabolic restructuring to geochemical changes within the rock environment with implications for the minimal set of biochemical functions required to live within rocks. In a microbial isolate, we have shown how resource limitation, by defining the limits of microbial growth in extreme environments, can eliminate the effect of physical extremes. Finally I'll discuss another, utterly unrelated phenomenon, I'd like a mathematical physicist to tell me how to model.