September 2, 2011

Explore The Extremes

Unleash your inner explorer and accompany USC geobiologist Katrina Edwards as she embarks on an ocean adventure this month – by reading her blog.

The blog´s first post can be found online at the Scientific American website at

Edwards and her colleague Wolfgang Bach of Bremen University will co-lead a team of more than 100 scientists and support crew for the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) on a two-month mission to search for life at the planet´s extremes, deep below the ocean floor.

“We don´t understand most of this planet,” said Edwards, professor of biological sciences, Earth sciences and environmental studies at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “We know more about the surfaces of other planets in the solar system than we do about the ocean floor.”

Readers of the blog can experience team´s day-to-day obstacles and triumphs as they break science out of the lab and plunge into the frigid depths of the real world, braving wind and sea to take samples of some of the planet´s deepest organisms.

“We´re trying to find the bottom of the biosphere,” said Edwards, referring to the portion of the Earth that is inhabited by living organisms.

For the moment, Edwards is packing gear and supplies and getting her team ready. She departs for the Atlantic on September 16.

The expedition is funded by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, and C-DEBI is supported by the National Science Foundation.