Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
2014-2015 Distinguished Lecturer
Buried Alive: Life Beneath the Seafloor

Roughly seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by marine sediment and oceanic crust. Microbes – bacteria, archaea, tiny eukaryotes, and viruses – are major players in these environments, cycling elements and eating carbon. The marine subsurface is a vast reservoir of life “buried alive” on Earth, yet we don’t fully understand how all of the microbes get their energy to grow, or the full impact of their activity on chemical cycling.

Dr. Orcutt has developed novel incubation devices that are deployed in subseafloor observatories to track microbial growth and will present an overview of some of the exciting microbiological, geochemical, and ocean exploration research being conducted within the International Ocean Discovery Program and other deep-sea science programs.

Dr. Orcutt has been involved in IODP Expeditions 327 and 336 to explore for life in deep sediment and rocks.


October 29, 2014 – Chesapeake Biological Lab (Solomons, MD)
November 17, 2014 – Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
November 18, 2014 – Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ)
February 3, 2015 – Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (Savannah, GA)
February 5, 2015 – University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Knoxville, TN)
April 9, 2015 – University of Akron (Akron, OH)
April 10, 2015 – Kent State University (Kent, OH)