Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert

Arizona State University

2023-2024 Distinguished Lecturer 


What lies beneath: Who lives miles beneath the seafloor and what are they up to?



Windows into the Earth’s subsurface are few and far between. Yet from what glimpses we have had, there appears a boundless capacity for tiny life forms (microbes) to survive, if not thrive, in this vast underground world. However, access to these systems is limited and requires massive engineering and technology efforts to observe. Therefore, we know much less about microbes living down in the dark than their surface counterparts living among us. Through the application of highly sensitive methods at single-cell resolution from a range of subsurface systems, we find these microbes have a massive range in growth rates and cell sizes. They also have the capacity to sustain changing conditions and switch between food sources accordingly. Overall, these investigations improve our understanding of the microbial role in these energy limited environments on Earth, with astrobiological implications for similar systems elsewhere.


Dr. Trembath-Reichert’s research focuses on microbially mediated Earth-life interactions, with the goal of identifying key players in global biogeochemical cycles and determining their rates of activity in past and modern environments. She integrates a range of techniques, including geochemical, gene-based, and statistical methods, and applies them across various scales, from molecules to oceanic basins. She is an Assistant Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. 







  • February 1, 2024 – University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
  • February 22, 2024 – University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
  • March 6, 2024 – Savannah State University, Savannah, GA
  • April 17-20 – Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, Evansville, IN
  • April 25 – California State University Chico, Chico, CA