Dr. Yuki Morono and Prof. Steve D'Hondt give an overview of IODP expedition 329. The research team behind the new study, from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), the University of Rhode Island, the Kochi University and Marine Works Japan, gathered the ancient sediment samples ten years ago during an expedition to the South Pacific Gyre, the part of the ocean with the lowest productivity and fewest nutrients available to fuel the marine food web.
With fine-tuned laboratory procedures, the scientists, led by Morono, incubated the samples to coax their microbes to grow. The results demonstrated that rather than being fossilized remains of life, the microbes in the sediment had survived, and were capable of growing and dividing.
This study was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the Funding Program for Next Generation World-Leading Researchers, and the U.S. National Science Foundation. This study was conducted using core samples collected during Expedition 329, “South Pacific Gyre Subseafloor Life,” of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.