The role of microbial processes in carbon cycling: why interfaces matter!

20 May 2015, 3.00 PM - 20 May 2015, 4.00 PM

Seminar Room 1, Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol

The next physical geography seminar will be held this Wednesday 20 May at 3 pm in SR1. Our speaker, Liane Benning (University of Leeds/GFZ, Potsdam), will give the following talk: 

Throughout geologic history, tectonic forces slowly but inexorably weathered the Earth's surface. Combined with microbial action this breaks bonds in minerals and leads to soil formation upon which our entire biosphere depends. Primary rock weathering plays a key-role in C cycling as Mg/Ca silicate alteration coupled to Mg/Ca carbonate deposition results in a net atmospheric-lithospheric CO2 flux, thus controlling/regulating atmospheric CO2 levels and hence affecting climate. Initially conceptualized in terms of abiotic dissolution alone, clear evidence supports the key role of microorganisms in weathering through their capacity to interact physically and chemically with minerals and to extract crucial nutrients. However, quantifying the interactions between microbes, fluids and mineral interfaces in complex systems are still in their infancy. I will discuss processes that govern C cycling on glacial surfaces, look at processes leading to the initial stages of soil formation in pro-glacial settings and address how microbial and geochemical interface reactions at the nano-scale affect nutrient and C cycling. 

This event is only open to UoB staff and students.

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