A coupled microscopy approach to assess the nano-landscape of weathering

Rebecca A. Lybrand, Jason C. Austin, Jennifer Fedenko, Rachel Elizabeth Gallery, Erin Rooney, Paul A. Schroeder, Dragos G. Zaharescu, Odeta Qafoku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mineral weathering is a balanced interplay among physical, chemical, and biological processes. Fundamental knowledge gaps exist in characterizing the biogeochemical mechanisms that transform microbe-mineral interfaces at submicron scales, particularly in complex field systems. Our objective was to develop methods targeting the nanoscale by using high-resolution microscopy to assess biological and geochemical drivers of weathering in natural settings. Basalt, granite, and quartz (53–250 µm) were deployed in surface soils (10 cm) of three ecosystems (semiarid, subhumid, humid) for one year. We successfully developed a reference grid method to analyze individual grains using: (1) helium ion microscopy to capture micron to sub-nanometer imagery of mineral-organic interactions; and (2) scanning electron microscopy to quantify elemental distribution on the same surfaces via element mapping and point analyses. We detected locations of biomechanical weathering, secondary mineral precipitation, biofilm formation, and grain coatings across the three contrasting climates. To our knowledge, this is the first time these coupled microscopy techniques were applied in the earth and ecosystem sciences to assess microbe-mineral interfaces and in situ biological contributors to incipient weathering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5377
JournalScientific reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

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Minerals
Microscopy
Ecosystem
Earth Sciences
Chemical Phenomena
Physical Phenomena
Biological Phenomena
Helium
Quartz
Imagery (Psychotherapy)
Biofilms
Climate
Electron Scanning Microscopy
Soil
Ions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Lybrand, R. A., Austin, J. C., Fedenko, J., Gallery, R. E., Rooney, E., Schroeder, P. A., ... Qafoku, O. (2019). A coupled microscopy approach to assess the nano-landscape of weathering. Scientific reports, 9(1), [5377]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41357-0

A coupled microscopy approach to assess the nano-landscape of weathering. / Lybrand, Rebecca A.; Austin, Jason C.; Fedenko, Jennifer; Gallery, Rachel Elizabeth; Rooney, Erin; Schroeder, Paul A.; Zaharescu, Dragos G.; Qafoku, Odeta.

In: Scientific reports, Vol. 9, No. 1, 5377, 01.12.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lybrand, RA, Austin, JC, Fedenko, J, Gallery, RE, Rooney, E, Schroeder, PA, Zaharescu, DG & Qafoku, O 2019, 'A coupled microscopy approach to assess the nano-landscape of weathering', Scientific reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 5377. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41357-0
Lybrand, Rebecca A. ; Austin, Jason C. ; Fedenko, Jennifer ; Gallery, Rachel Elizabeth ; Rooney, Erin ; Schroeder, Paul A. ; Zaharescu, Dragos G. ; Qafoku, Odeta. / A coupled microscopy approach to assess the nano-landscape of weathering. In: Scientific reports. 2019 ; Vol. 9, No. 1.
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