EESS talk on "Biological indicators for changes in groundwater properties"


Event details

Date 11.10.2022
Hour 12:1513:15
Speaker Dr Cara Magnabosco, Assistant Professor, Geobiology, Dept. of Earth Sciences, ETHZ
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
Deep groundwater systems are traditionally viewed as “energy-starved” environments lacking the high-energy electron donors and acceptors available on Earth’s surface. However, new research is revealing a more complex picture of subsurface life — one that can experience rapid changes in physical-chemical conditions that lead to changes in community composition and function. In groundwater ecosystems, the mixing of fluids with contrasting redox chemistries at the intersection of fractures has been shown to introduce new substrates and stimulate the expansion of microorganisms into higher-energy niches while research on the “critical zone” has found that changes in land cover and/or land use can change the biological and chemical properties of subsurface ecosystems and that extreme events such as heavy rainfall and earthquakes dominate the transfer of energy and matter from the surface to shallow (<100 m below land surface) subsurface environments. In this presentation, we’ll discuss the responses and adaptive strategies of microorganisms to these events, paying special attention the subsurface ecosystems encountered throughout the new Bedretto Underground Laboratory for Geosciences and Geoenergies in Ticino and how this information can be used to help inform scientists and engineers about subsurface conditions and reservoir connectivity.

Short biography:
Dr Cara Magnabosco is a tenure-track assistant professor of geobiology at the ETH Department of Earth Sciences. Prior to joining ETH, Cara was a research scientist at the Flatiron Institute Center for Computational Biology and obtained her PhD from the Princeton University Department of Geosciences under the supervision of T.C. Onstott. Her group studies the interactions between life and the environment to better understand the history of Earth’s surface, atmosphere and biosphere and how these interactions may change in the future. Recent recognitions include the 2019 Deep Carbon Observatory Emerging Leader Award and research media coverage for her role in the development of the ETH Center for the Origins and Prevalence of Life.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • EESS - IIE


  • Prof. Rizlan Bernier-Latmani, EML


Geobiology Bedretto Underground Laboratory for Geosciences and Geoenergies metagenomics Thermal-hydraulic-mechanical-chemical-biological feedbacks