From Fossils to Astrobiology: Records of Life on Earth and Search for Extraterrestrial Biosignatures

Astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, draws on many traditional areas of scientific study, including astronomy, chemistry and planetary science. This volume, number 12 in the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology series (published by Springer) focuses on the study of the record of life on planet Earth, which is critical in guiding investigations in the rest of the cosmos, as well the evidence for and likelihood of extraterrestrial life. The 30 contributors to this volume are experts from 16 different countries: Australia; Austria; France; Germany; Hungary; India; Israel; Italy; Japan; Mexico; Norway; Romania; South Africa; Spain; Sweden, United Kingdom; the United States of America.

The editors thank the authors for their contributions and their cooperation during the compilation of this volume. We acknowledge the efforts of many individuals for their careful reviews of the chapters in this volume. Their names are listed in alphabetical order: Wlady Altermann, Peter Bahn, Stefan Bengston, Oliver Botta, Gary Byerly, Zachary Byerly, Jeffrey Chiaranzelli, Brent Christner, Alexandra Davatzes, Stephen Dornbos, J. Peter Gogartner, Jessica Goin, Richard Hugo, Hidrim Idriss, Carolina Keim, Joseph Lambert, Thomas Lindsay, Charles Lineweaver, Andrew Melott, Lori Marino, Harold Morowitz, Jared Morrow, Nora Noffke, Aharon Oren, Mary Parenteau, Russell Shapiro, Giovanni Strazzulla, Jan Toporski, Sergey Tsokolov, Peter Ward, and Frances Westall. We thank Shellie Miller and Maeghan Reese of Louisiana State University for their assistance with organization and proofreading of manuscripts. MMW acknowledges the support of the Louisiana Board of Regents/LaSPACE under the NASA Space Training Grant award NNG05GH22H.

Joseph Seckbach Maud M. Walsh

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Louisiana State University

Jerusalem, Israel Baton Rouge, LA, USA

June 21, 2008

Biodata of Joseph Seckbach, editor of this volume and author of "Foreword" (both with M.M. Walsh) and the author with other coauthors of the "Summary and Outlook"

Professor Joseph Seckbach is the founder and chief editor of Cellular Origins, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology (COLE) book series. See: sereis/5775. He is the author of several chapters in this series. Dr. Seckbach earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (1965) and spent his postdoctoral years in the Division of Biology at Caltech (Pasadena, CA). Then he headed at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) a team for searching for extraterrestrial life. He has been appointed to the faculty of the Hebrew University (Jerusalem, Israel) performed algal research and taught biological courses until his retirement. He spent his sabbatical periods in Tübingen (Germany), UCLA and Harvard University, and served at Louisiana State University (LSU) (1997/1998) as the first selected occupant of the John P. Laborde endowed Chair for the Louisiana Sea Grant and Technology transfer, and as a visiting Professor in the Department of Life Sciences at LSU (Baton Rouge, LA). Recently (2006) he spent three months in Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich with a DAAD fellowship from the German service of exchange academicians, where several forward steps of this volume have been performed.

Among his publications are books, scientific articles concerning plant ferritin (phytoferritin), cellular evolution, acidothermophilic algae, and life in extreme environments. He also edited and translated several popular books. Dr. Seckbach is the co-author (with R. Ikan) of the Chemistry Lexicon (1991, 1999) and other volumes, such as co-editor for the Proceeding of Endocytobiology VII Conference (Freiburg, Germany, 1998) and the Proceedings of Algae and Extreme Environments meeting (Trebon, Czech Republic, 2000); see: bo/ His new volume entitled Divine Action and Natural Selection: Science, Faith, and Evolution, has been edited with Richard Gordon and published by World Scientific Publishing Company. His recent interest is in the field of enigmatic microorganisms and life in extreme environments.

E-mail: seckba[email protected]

Biodata of Wladyslaw Altermann, author of "From Fossils to Astrobiology - A Roadmap to Fata Morgana?"

Professor Wladyslaw (Wlady) Altermann, obtained the Diploma (M.Sc.) in

Geology and Paleontology in 1983 and the Dr. rer. nat. degree in 1988, from the Free University of Berlin. He spent several years of research at the University of Stellenbosch, R. South Africa; at the Center for the Studies of the Evolution of Life, University of California, Los Angeles; and at the Centre Biophysique Moléculaire, CNRS, Orléans, France. In 1998 he received the Dr. rer. nat. habil. degree and the venia legendi in geology and sedimentology from the LudwigMaximilians University of Munich (LMU), where he is currently serving as geology professor. Dr. Altermann is interested in all aspects of Precambrian sedimentology and biogeology and of biosedimentary processes and habitats of early life on Earth. His interests also extend to sediment-hosted mineral deposits, geochemistry, and geological remote sensing. Wlady Altermann has participated in research projects and fieldwork around the world, from Australia to South America, Southeast Asia, India, and China. He currently holds an Honorary Professorship in Geology at the University of Pretoria, R.S.A., and at the Shandong University of Science and Technology, in Huangdao, Quing Dao, P.R. China.

E-mail: [email protected]


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