Opendata, web and dolomites


Deep Biosignatures on Mars and Earth

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 D BIOME project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the D BIOME project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "D BIOME" about.

edinburgh    revealed    extends    elucidate    size    planet    instruments    decades    origin    relevance    describe    astrobiology    modern    follows    fissures    boreholes    microorganisms    global    billions    rocks    mcmahon    combine    school    record    dr    physics    confirmed    implications    potentially    geological    seafloor    mines    model    economic    life    astronomy    environment    experiments    hostile    protected    broad    biogeochemistry    simulate    directed    ancient    time    chemical    almost    rover    traces    below    abundance    biosphere    downwards    samples    nothing    earth    fossil    subsurface    changed    variation    considerable    exomars    exist    terrestrial    centre    experimentally    day    vast    discover    miles    biosignatures    consequential    planetary    subject    environmental    experimental    detected    conduct    showing    effort    pores    deep    uk    university    scientific    populated    land    marine    crust    history    mars    surface    existed    habitable   

Project "D BIOME" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: EH8 9YL

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 183˙454 €
 EC max contribution 183˙454 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2016
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-10-01   to  2019-10-04


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH UK (EDINBURGH) coordinator 183˙454.00


 Project objective

'In recent decades, samples from mines and boreholes have revealed that our planet’s biosphere extends several miles downwards into the crust. Pores and fissures far below the seafloor and land surface are populated by vast numbers of microorganisms, with broad economic and scientific implications. These implications reach as far as Mars, whose subsurface has provided a potentially habitable environment for billions of years, protected from the hostile conditions at the surface. Although Earth's modern-day 'deep biosphere' is now the subject of a major global research effort, almost nothing is known about its variation across geological time, which may have been considerable and highly consequential for planetary biogeochemistry. This project will combine state-of-the-art analyses of fossil and chemical traces of deep life ('deep biosignatures') with experimental and modelling work to elucidate the abundance, activity and geological record of ancient subsurface life on Earth and its possible relevance for Mars. Dr McMahon’s research at the UK Centre for Astrobiology (School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh) will be directed towards four main objectives, as follows:

1. To identify and describe ancient deep biosignatures in both marine and terrestrial rocks on Earth, showing how their deep origin can be confirmed, and extending the deep fossil record.

2. To conduct experiments to determine whether and how, if they exist, deep biosignatures could be detected in rocks on Mars by rover instruments—particularly those on the European ExoMars rover.

3. To simulate experimentally the conditions deep below the surface of Earth and Mars and discover which environmental parameters most strongly affect the growth of relevant deep microorganisms and the production of biosignatures.

4. To model how the deep biosphere has changed in size and activity over the history of the Earth, and how a deep biosphere on Mars, if it ever existed, could have done so.'


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Sean McMahon
Earth’s earliest and deepest purported fossils may be iron-mineralized chemical gardens
published pages: , ISSN: 1471-2954, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2019.2410
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 2020-03-23
2019 Charles S. Cockell, Sean McMahon
Lifeless Martian samples and their significance
published pages: 468-470, ISSN: 2397-3366, DOI: 10.1038/s41550-019-0777-0
Nature Astronomy 3/6 2020-03-23
2019 Charles S. Cockell, Sean McMahon, Darlene S. S. Lim, John Rummel, Adam Stevens, Scott S. Hughes, Shannon E. Kobs Nawotniak, Allyson L. Brady, Viggo Marteinsson, Javier Martin-Torres, Maria-Paz Zorzano, Jesse Harrison
Sample Collection and Return from Mars: Optimising Sample Collection Based on the Microbial Ecology of Terrestrial Volcanic Environments
published pages: , ISSN: 0038-6308, DOI: 10.1007/s11214-019-0609-7
Space Science Reviews 215/7 2020-03-23
2018 Sean McMahon
The chemistry of fossilization on Earth and Mars
published pages: 28-32, ISSN: 0954-982X, DOI: 10.1042/bio04006028
The Biochemist 40/6 2020-03-23
2019 Alexander G. Liu, Sean McMahon, Jack J. Matthews, John W. Still, Alexander T. Brasier, Diana Marosi
Petrological evidence supports the death mask model for the preservation of Ediacaran soft-bodied organisms in South Australia: REPLY
published pages: e474-e474, ISSN: 0091-7613, DOI: 10.1130/g46519y.1
Geology 47/8 2020-03-23
2019 Sean McMahon, Magnus Ivarsson
A New Frontier for Palaeobiology: Earth\'s Vast Deep Biosphere
published pages: 1900052, ISSN: 0265-9247, DOI: 10.1002/bies.201900052
BioEssays 41/8 2020-03-23
2018 Sean McMahon, Ashleigh v. S. Hood, John Parnell, Stephen Bowden
Reduction spheroids preserve a uranium isotope record of the ancient deep continental biosphere
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06974-9
Nature Communications 9/1 2020-03-23
2019 Alexander G. Liu, Sean McMahon, Jack J. Matthews, John W. Still, Alexander T. Brasier
Petrological evidence supports the death mask model for the preservation of Ediacaran soft-bodied organisms in South Australia
published pages: 215-218, ISSN: 0091-7613, DOI: 10.1130/g45918.1
Geology 47/3 2020-03-23
2018 Jack J. Matthews, Sean McMahon
Exogeoconservation: Protecting geological heritage on celestial bodies
published pages: 55-60, ISSN: 0094-5765, DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2018.05.034
Acta Astronautica 149 2020-03-23
2018 S. McMahon, T. Bosak, J. P. Grotzinger, R. E. Milliken, R. E. Summons, M. Daye, S. A. Newman, A. Fraeman, K. H. Williford, D. E. G. Briggs
A Field Guide to Finding Fossils on Mars
published pages: 1012-1040, ISSN: 2169-9097, DOI: 10.1029/2017je005478
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 123/5 2020-03-23
2018 Sean McMahon, John Parnell
The Deep History of Earth\'s Biomass
published pages: jgs2018-061, ISSN: 0016-7649, DOI: 10.1144/jgs2018-061
Journal of the Geological Society 2020-03-23

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