Matching Items (4)

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Kinetics, thermodynamics, and habitability of microbial iron redox cycling

Description

Many acidic hot springs in Yellowstone National Park support microbial iron oxidation, reduction, or microbial iron redox cycling (MIRC), as determined by microcosm rate experiments. Microbial dissimilatory iron reduction (DIR)

Many acidic hot springs in Yellowstone National Park support microbial iron oxidation, reduction, or microbial iron redox cycling (MIRC), as determined by microcosm rate experiments. Microbial dissimilatory iron reduction (DIR) was detected in numerous systems with a pH < 4. Rates of DIR are influenced by the availability of ferric minerals and organic carbon. Microbial iron oxidation (MIO) was detected from pH 2 – 5.5. In systems with abundant Fe (II), dissolved oxygen controls the presence of MIO. Rates generally increase with increased Fe(II) concentrations, but rate constants are not significantly altered by additions of Fe(II). MIRC was detected in systems with abundant ferric mineral deposition.

The rates of microbial and abiological iron oxidation were determined in a variety of cold (T= 9-12°C), circumneutral (pH = 5.5-9) environments in the Swiss Alps. Rates of MIO were measured in systems up to a pH of 7.4; only abiotic processes were detected at higher pH values. Iron oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) were responsible for 39-89% of the net oxidation rate at locations where biological iron oxidation was detected. Members of putative iron oxidizing genera, especially Gallionella, are abundant in systems where MIO was measured. Speciation calculations reveal that ferrous iron typically exists as FeCO30, FeHCO3+, FeSO40 or Fe2+ in these systems. The presence of ferrous (bi)carbonate species appear to increase abiotic iron oxidation rates relative to locations without significant concentrations. This approach, integrating geochemistry, rates, and community composition, reveals biogeochemical conditions that permit MIO, and locations where the abiotic rate is too fast for the biotic process to compete.

For a reaction to provide habitability for microbes in a given environment, it must energy yield and this energy must dissipate slowly enough to remain bioavailable. Thermodynamic boundaries exist at conditions where reactions do not yield energy, and can be quantified by calculations of chemical energy. Likewise, kinetic boundaries exist at conditions where the abiotic reaction rate is so fast that reactants are not bioavailable; this boundary can be quantified by measurements biological and abiological rates. The first habitability maps were drawn, using iron oxidation as an example, by quantifying these boundaries in geochemical space.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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The Diversity of Chemical Composition and the Effects on Stellar Evolution and Planetary Habitability

Description

I present a catalog of 1,794 stellar evolution models for solar-type and low-mass stars, which is intended to help characterize real host-stars of interest during the ongoing search for potentially

I present a catalog of 1,794 stellar evolution models for solar-type and low-mass stars, which is intended to help characterize real host-stars of interest during the ongoing search for potentially habitable exoplanets. The main grid is composed of 904 tracks, for 0.5-1.2 M_sol at scaled metallicity values of 0.1-1.5 Z_sol and specific elemental abundance ratio values of 0.44-2.28 O/Fe_sol, 0.58-1.72 C/Fe_sol, 0.54-1.84 Mg/Fe_sol, and 0.5-2.0 Ne/Fe_sol. The catalog includes a small grid of late stage evolutionary tracks (25 models), as well as a grid of M-dwarf stars for 0.1-0.45 M_sol (856 models). The time-dependent habitable zone evolution is calculated for each track, and is strongly dependent on stellar mass, effective temperature, and luminosity parameterizations. I have also developed a subroutine for the stellar evolution code TYCHO that implements a minimalist coupled model for estimating changes in the stellar X-ray luminosity, mass loss, rotational velocity, and magnetic activity over time; to test the utility of the updated code, I created a small grid (9 models) for solar-mass stars, with variations in rotational velocity and scaled metallicity. Including this kind of information in the catalog will ultimately allow for a more robust consideration of the long-term conditions that orbiting planets may experience.

In order to gauge the true habitability potential of a given planetary system, it is extremely important to characterize the host-star's mass, specific chemical composition, and thus the timescale over which the star will evolve. It is also necessary to assess the likelihood that a planet found in the "instantaneous" habitable zone has actually had sufficient time to become "detectably" habitable. This catalog provides accurate stellar evolution predictions for a large collection of theoretical host-stars; the models are of particular utility in that they represent the real variation in stellar parameters that have been observed in nearby stars.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Variability of elemental abundances in the local neighborhood and its effect on planetary systems

Description

As the detection of planets become commonplace around our neighboring stars, scientists can now begin exploring their possible properties and habitability. Using statistical analysis I determine a true range of

As the detection of planets become commonplace around our neighboring stars, scientists can now begin exploring their possible properties and habitability. Using statistical analysis I determine a true range of elemental compositions amongst local stars and how this variation could affect possible planetary systems. Through calculating and analyzing the variation in elemental abundances of nearby stars, the actual range in stellar abundances can be determined using statistical methods. This research emphasizes the diversity of stellar elemental abundances and how that could affect the environment from which planets form. An intrinsic variation has been found to exist for almost all of the elements studied by most abundance-finding groups. Specifically, this research determines abundances for a set of 458 F, G, and K stars from spectroscopic planet hunting surveys for 27 elements, including: C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, Ca, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Y, Zr, Mo, Ba, La, Ce, Nd, Eu, and Hf. Abundances of the elements in many known exosolar planet host stars are calculated for the purpose investigating new ways to visualize how stellar abundances could affect planetary systems, planetary formation, and mineralogy. I explore the Mg/Si and C/O ratios as well as place these abundances on ternary diagrams with Fe. Lastly, I emphasize the unusual stellar abundance of τ Ceti. τ Ceti is measured to have 5 planets of Super-Earth masses orbiting in near habitable zone distances. Spectroscopic analysis finds that the Mg/Si ratio is extremely high (~2) for this star, which could lead to alterations in planetary properties. τ Ceti's low metallicity and oxygen abundance account for a change in the location of the traditional habitable zone, which helps clarify a new definition of habitable planets.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Stellar abundances in the solar neighborhood

Description

The only elements that were made in significant quantity during the Big Bang were hydrogen and helium, and to a lesser extent lithium. Depending on the initial mass of a

The only elements that were made in significant quantity during the Big Bang were hydrogen and helium, and to a lesser extent lithium. Depending on the initial mass of a star, it may eject some or all of the unique, newly formed elements into the interstellar medium. The enriched gas later collapses into new stars, which are able to form heavier elements due to the presence of the new elements. When we observe the abundances in a stellar regions, we are able to glean the astrophysical phenomena that occurred prior to its formation. I compile spectroscopic abundance data from 49 literature sources for 46 elements across 2836 stars in the solar neighborhood, within 150 pc of the Sun, to produce the Hypatia Catalog. I analyze the variability of the spread in abundance measurements reported for the same star by different surveys, the corresponding stellar atmosphere parameters adopted by various abundance determination methods, and the effect of normalizing all abundances to the same solar scale. The resulting abundance ratios [X/Fe] as a function of [Fe/H] are consistent with stellar nucleosynthetic processes and known Galactic thin-disk trends. I analyze the element abundances for 204 known exoplanet host-stars. In general, I find that exoplanet host-stars are not enriched more than the surrounding population of stars, with the exception of iron. I examine the stellar abundances with respect to both stellar and planetary physical properties, such as orbital period, eccentricity, planetary mass, stellar mass, and stellar color. My data confirms that exoplanet hosts are enriched in [Fe/H] but not in the refractory elements, per the self-enrichment theory for stellar composition. Lastly, I apply the Hypatia Catalog to the Catalog of Potentially Habitable Stellar Systems in order to investigate the abundances in the 1224 overlapping stars. By looking at stars similar to the Sun with respect to six bio-essential elements, I created maps that have located two ``habitability windows'' on the sky: (20.6hr, -4.8deg) and (22.6hr, -48.5deg). These windows may be of use in future targeted or beamed searches.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012