Café Scientifique

Deep subsurface: Noah’s Ark for early life

Tuesday, Aug. 18
Sat, 08/15/2015 - 10:30am

    A single teaspoon of seawater contains around a million bacteria that together roughly encode a terabyte of genetic information — as much data as stored within a typical computer. 

    Analogous to the information on a computer, much of this genetic information is coded. That’s where Senior Research Scientist Ramunas Stepanauskas and postdoctoral researcher Jessica Labonté come in.

    Using single-cell genomics, Stepanauskas and Labonté have been able to deconstruct and characterize the reams of DNA that make up the incredible diversity of the microbial world. This information, which was inaccessible to researchers just a few years ago, has the potential to address fundamental questions about the origins of life.

    The public is invited to come learn about what Stepanauskas and Labonté are discovering and how their discoveries may hold the key to early life on Tuesday evening Aug. 18, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Opera House at Boothbay Harbor, 86 Townsend Avenue in Boothbay Harbor. Stepanauskas and Labonté’s presentation is the sixth in Bigelow Laboratory’s weekly summer “Café Scientifique” series. This year the focus is on “Extreme Environments/Extreme Science.”

    Café Scientifique is an international movement designed to encourage discussion about topical science issues between scientists and the public. There are more than 150 science cafés organized over 42 countries. All Café Scientifique events are open to the public free of charge, and members of the press are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact or call 207-315-2567, ext. 103.