OverviewThe Tengchong PIRE project aims to work toward a holistic and global view of geobiology in geothermal systems by studying the largest geothermal area in China within the context of similar research in other geothermal systems such as Yellowstone National Park. The project is a collaborative effort involving eight US universities and six Chinese universities (see Universities below). The project is funded by a 5-year grant from the NSF Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) program with co-funding from the Biology and Geosciences Directorates.
ScienceThe study of high temperature ecosystems (>73°C) is a frontier in biology because temperature alters the ecology of these systems in ways that are profoundly important but poorly understood. We are limited by our poor understanding of the cycling of two of the most important biological elements, carbon (C) and nitrogen (N), and our complete ignorance of the functions of abundant microorganisms that have never been cultivated in the laboratory. Our team employs a broad repertoire of approaches in geochemistry, microbial cultivation and physiology, microbial community activity measurements, and genomics. By carefully coordinating our research and integrating datasets, we hope to make major advancements in our understanding of life at high temperature. Read More