WMU News

Researcher talks about the incredible adaptations of life

April 3, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Using the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park as an example, a researcher from Arizona State University will explore the potential limits of life on Earth and throughout the solar system during an April 8 talk at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Everett Shock, ASU professor of geochemistry, will present "Life Where We Least Expect It and the Limits of Habitability," at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, in Room 2000 of Schneider Hall. His visit to campus is part of the University's Visiting Scholars and Artists Program and is free and open to the public.

"Organisms in hot springs and hydrothermal vents found on the ocean floor exploit the energy in these hostile environments, to not only survive, but thrive," says Dr. Carla Koretsky, WMU assistant professor of geosciences, who is coordinating Shock's visit. "His research explores the idea that if life can flourish in these places, it could then be found deep within the Earth's crust or on other planets or moons in our solar system."

Shock has published more than 80 scientific articles, and focuses his research on the unique chemistry and geology that supports forms of microbial life. His interests also include assessing the conditions required to support extraterrestrial life.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program at WMU was established in 1960 and has supported more than 500 visits by scholars and artists representing some 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Carol Bennett, instructor in the Department of Business Information Systems.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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