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Dina M. Bower, an Old Dominion University doctoral student who works with geobiologist Nora Noffke on research concerning signs of life on Mars and of early life on Earth, has been chosen through an international competition to participate in the Astrobiology Institute's field workshop, Biosignatures in Ancient Rocks, in Sudbury, Ontario, in September.

Bower will present a poster relating to her dissertation thesis, "Microbial Mat Structures in Siliciclastic Marine Environments: Identifying Biosignatures for Archaean Earth and Mars."

The student and her adviser, Noffke, focus on geological evidence that can be found of ancient microbial mats that existed in tidal flats on Earth. They have found evidence of bacteria that lived more than 3 billion years ago.

Bower's research also concerns the detection of biosignatures on Mars using rovers equipped with Raman spectroscopy.

"I think it is wonderful that a student from ODU has this great opportunity," said Noffke, who is associate professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences.

Workshop participants will visit Archean Age geologic sites and hear lectures from experts in astrobiology. The program will be Sept. 18-27.

Organizers of the workshop include Hiroshi Ohmoto and Lee Kump of Penn State, Bruce Runnegar of UCLA, Marilyn Fogel of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, David Emerson of George Mason University, Ariel Anbar of Arizona State University, Heinrich Holland of Harvard University, Donald Lowe of Stanford University, Dawn Sumner of University of California, Davis, and Malcolm Walter of Macquarie University.

This article was posted on: July 12, 2007

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