Mighty Microbes: Methanogens, the Tree of Life, and the Carbon Cycle

Tuesday, February 13, 7pm

Microbiologist Stephen Zinder will take you on a historical journey of discovery about the mighty microbes known as methanogens. Your journey begins in 1776 with Italian physicist Alessandro Volta on summer holiday at Lake Maggiore in Italy. While boating, Volta observed the flammability of the gas bubbling up on the lake. Every year that he taught a summer course in Woods Hole, MA, Professor Zinder took his students to a swamp where they repeated the same experience of producing a fireball from the gas.

Join us for an interactive discussion about these methanogen discoveries, microbes, and how by 1977 these discoveries led to a controversial new tree of life. Finally, this fascinating conversation will consider the effect of methanogens on Earth’s carbon cycle and methane’s role as a greenhouse gas in the present day.

Dr. Stephen Zinder is a professor of microbiology at Cornell University. He studies the diversity of microorganisms in nature and chemical transformations they carry out that affect the environment.

Note: Beverages and snacks generously provided by Paleontological Research Institution.

Let us know you are coming! Facebook event.

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This program is also part of Darwin Days: Extreme Life, taking place February 11-17, 2018. Hosted by PRI & Cornell University – An annual commemoration of the birthday and ideas of Charles Darwin. More info: https://www.priweb.org/darwindays

Sciencenter | 601 1st St. | FREE