Microbial Life > Microbial Observatories > Red Layer MO > RLMO Phase 1 and 2
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Red Layer Microbial Observatory (RLMO):Phase 1 and 2

Created by George Rice, Montana State University

Researcher checking temperature of hydrothermal feature.
Student checking physical parameters at the Boulder Spring thermal site.

Phase 1- Goals

Phase 1- Results

Phase 2- Goals

Broader View

Image of a red mat at the fairy site
Red layer at the Fairy (more info) thermal site.

Understanding the origin of photosynthesis and life itself are fundamental, interesting, and important aims of this work. There is great fascination in the notion that photosynthetic pigments may have originally evolved to harness heat first—then light. Red Chloroflexi are one of an emerging handful of phototrophs that use pigments capable of capturing infrared wavelengths of energy (i.e. heat). Although many scientists argue that the first living things likely used inorganic chemicals as an energy source(i.e. they were lithotrophs), there is also a hypothesis that the first living organisms may have used heat and then light in the same capacity.

Copyright on all images and material by Sarah Boomer 1998-2005.

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