Scott Beeler worked with Dr. Alexander Bradley investigating the processes governing the formation of microbially mediated sedimentary structures called microbialites.
During my time as a McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences Fellow in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences I worked with Dr. Alexander Bradley investigating the processes governing the formation of microbially mediated sedimentary structures called microbialites. Microbialites are among the oldest and most complete records of life on early Earth and serve as a target for the search for life on other planets, however our understanding of how microbialites form is incomplete limiting the information that can be gained from their study in the geologic record. My research investigated how microbial, geochemical, and physical processes combine to form microbialites within the modern hypersaline lake Laguna Negra in the Andes Mountains of Argentina as an analog for understanding microbialite formation on early Earth and potentially other planets. My time as a PhD student at WashU has been an extremely fulfilling experience and given me the opportunity to carry out international field campaigns, work in top-tier research facilities, and be part of an outstanding departmental community. Following graduation, I will be working as a Research Scientist in the Engineering and Mining Experiment Station at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The support provided by the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences was essential to the completion of my PhD and I am thankful for the opportunities they have provided me.