This is an image of an unidentified environmental microbial community collected from a shallow subsurface sediment sample. The sample was taken from the Gulf of Mexico at a depth of 575 meters and photographed using a DNA DAPI fluorescent stain. The stain fluoresces blue to count the cells found in the sediment sample. Image Credit: Heath Mills/TAMU
Foraminifera, like the one seen here, are tiny creatures in the ocean about the size of the head of a pen that are surrounded by calcium carbonate shells, similar to the shells around other sea creatures. Matthew Schmidt, a Texas A&M oceanographer, uses the foraminifera shells taken from ocean core samples to gather clues about the creature's surroundings, which helps scientists understand the conditions present at the start of the Younger Dryas period. Photo by Howard Spero at University of California Davis.
The mutton snapper inhabits much of the Atlantic Ocean, from Massachusetts to Brazil. Texas A&M Geography doctoral candidate Pablo Granados-Dieseldorff studies the mutton snapper in its spawning ground, the Mesoamerican Reef, which runs from Mexico to Honduras, in hopes of generating science-based conservation methods to protect both fish and habitat.
Peer into the interior of a thermal ionization mass spectrometer, located in the R. Ken Williams '45 Radiogenic Isotope Geosciences Laboratory. The instrument detects minute differences in the sub-atomic makeup of elements. Researchers use these differences found in rocks, minerals, sediments and fossils to trace ancient ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns during periods of past climate change. They can also use isotopic compositions of uranium and lead to date rocks that are millions to billions of years old.
A drill bit from the Joides Resolution, a drilling vessel used by researchers in Texas A&M’s Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. This photo was taken during Program Expedition 321 in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, during which researchers obtained sediments from the sea floor in order to reconstruct a detailed record of climate change over the last 55 million years. Researchers looked at minerals as well as microscopic fossils to construct the history.Photo by Bridget Wade
This is the image you would see were you to stand just south of the Endurance Crater on the surface of Mars and gaze northward. Endurance was visited by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity from May to December, 2004. Images and measurements taken by Opportunity led scientists to conclude that liquid water flowed episodically through the area in ancient times. Texas A&M Geosciences professor Mark Lemmon played integral roles as atmospheric sciences lead in the successful missions of both Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. More recently, he has also contributed to efforts in the Phoenix Lander, which first encountered Mars in May, 2008, and the Mars Science Laboratory (nicknamed Curiosity), which is scheduled for launch in November, 2011. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
Pictured on Abraham Lincoln’s nose, the tiny mineral zircon is used by geochronologists such as TAMU Geology and Geophysics professor Brent Miller to date rocks that are millions to billions of years old.The mineral is found in volcanic rocks that are inter-bedded with fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks. This provides one of the best ways to determine the ages of long-extinct species. Once-molten rocks that crystallized deep underground during plate tectonic collisions also contain zircon. The age of these zircons can be linked to the crystallization of the molten rock and thus give scientists a way to clock ancient mountain building processes.