Life in the subsurface: uncovering the critical role of pore size

10 December, 2020

Park and Santamarina explore this critical issue in a recent publication entitled “The critical role of pore size on depth-dependent microbial cell counts in sediments” (freely available online at Previous studies attribute the decrease in cell counts with depth to limiting factors such as water availability and chemistry, carbon source, nutrients, energy and temperature. However, Park and Santamarina demonstrate the critical role of pore size as a limiting factor to life. Results apply to sediment columns as well as rock masses, and shed new light on the extent of bioactivity in the subsurface with potential implications on geological processes and the carbon cycle.