Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology


Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life on Earth and in the universe. It encompasses research in, among others, the fields of astronomy, chemistry, evolutionary biology, field and population biology, geology, microbiology, molecular biology, oceanography, paleontology, and planetary science. Astrobiology includes investigations of the geologic and fossil record to understand the conditions of the early Earth when life arose. Its scope also includes research of contemporary locations on Earth that might be similar to early earth and to environments elsewhere in our Solar System (such as on Mars, Europa, and Titan), which may be, or have been in the past, suitable for life. Astrobiology is also about understanding the characteristics of life, which requires investigations into extreme natural environments on Earth and, eventually, elsewhere.

The Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology is open to field studies in any area of interest to astrobiology. Applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes members of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the APS, and the wider science community as needed. Recipients will be designated as Lewis and Clark Field Scholars in Astrobiology.

Ph.D. candidates wishing to pursue projects in disciplines with a large dependence on field studies, such as archeology, anthropology, biology, ecology, geography, geology, linguistics, paleontology, population genetics, and other fields, should consult the program description and forms for the Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research.

Additional information about the NASA Astrobiology Institute, its members, and the scope of its research can be found at: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/.

Current and Past Lewis and Clark Fund in Astrobiology Field Scholars


Boag, Thomas, Stanford University
Oxygen, Temperature, and the Deep-Water Evolution of Animals: Investigating Fossil Occurrences Across an Ediacaran Shelf-to-Slope Transect in Northwest Canada

Buessecker, Steffen, Arizona State University
Entangled Abiotic and Biotic N2O Fluxes in Iron-Rich Soils of Peru

Colman, Daniel, Montana State University
Quantifying the Influence of Tectonic Regime on Hot Spring Microbial Diversity

Dunham, Jeremy, University of Tennessee
Variation in Microfabric Within Proterozoic Early Diagenetic Chert and Implications for Genesis

Dzombak, Rebecca, University of Michigan
Iceland as an Analogue for Unvegetated Precambrian Soils During Oxygenation of the Atmosphere

Gangidine, Andrew, University of Cincinnati
Exploration and Collection of Sinter Deposits and Biofilms in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, for the Development of Novel Trace Element Biosignature Analysis

Moore, Kelsey, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Evolution of Cyanobacteria

Peoples, Logan, University of California, San Diego
Comparing Pressure-Retained and Decompressed Microbial Communities from the Greatest Ocean Depths

Zaikova, Elena, Georgetown University
Investigating the Role of Microbes in Secondary Mineral Deposits in Lava Caves as Analogs for Subsurface Mars


Babilonia, Joany, University of Florida
Unraveling the Global Microbiome Core of Stromatolites at Ruidera Pool in Spain

Bedell, Megan, University of Chicago
Exploring the Formation of Rocky Worlds With the Solar Twin Planet Search

Chile Black, Sarah, University of Colorado
Boulder Characterization of Secondary Mineralogy in Hydrothermal Systems in Costa Rica and Iceland via Multiple Instrumentation Methods: Implications for Mars

Craft, Kathleen, Johns Hopkins University
Exploring Hydrothermal Sinter Sites in Iceland and Molecular Biosignature Detection Techniques: A Mars Mission Analog to Exploring Nili Patera

Jenson, Aubri, Texas State University
Detecting Evidence of Microbially Mediated Carbonate Dissolution in a Submerged Cave: Cenote San Carlos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Smith, Emily, Smithsonian Institution
The Lat of the Ediacara Biota at Mt. Dunfee, Nevada

Stanford, Joshua, Georgia Institute of Technology
Assessing the Plausibility of Long-Term Sedimentary Recycling of Sulfur Isotope Anomalies in the Northern Amazon Craton, Brazil, and the Implications for Atmospheric Evolution on Earth

Tang, Qing, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Paleobiology of the Tonian Chuar Group in North America and Its Implications for the Evolution of Complex Eukaryotes

Uckert, Kyle, New Mexico State University
Characterizing the Biogenicity of Manganese Oxides in an Extreme Environment: Fort Stanton Cave as a Solar System Analog

Ward, Lewis, California Institute of Technology
Investigating Uncharacterized Iron-Rich Hot Springs in Japan as Early Earth and Exoplanet Analogues


Berg, Ashley, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Preservation of Prtoerzoic Microbial Mats

Cole, Devon, Yale University
Oxygenation in the Late Mesoproterozoic

Greenberger, Rebecca, Brown University
Mapping Mineralogies of Serpentine Seeps at the Phiolite in Oman: Insights Into Microbial Activity

Hancock, Leanne, University of California, Riverside
Redox Variation and Nutrient Controls on Monterey Formation Deposition: A Case Study on Methan Cycling in Borderland Basins and Proximity Controls

Kasun, George, Portland State University
Recombination Between RNA and DNA Viruses in an Acidic Hot Spring

Magnabosco, Cara, Princeton University
A Comparison of Subsurface Microbial Communities and Function in Northern Portugal

Phillips-Lander, Charity, University of Oklahoma
Trace Metals as Indicators of Microbially-Induced Weathering in Water-Limited Systems: The Snake River Plain as an Analog for Post-Noachian Weathering on Mars

Farris, Holly N., University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Survivability of Halophiles through Deliquescence in the Atacama Desert, Chile: Implications for Liquid Water Stability and Habitability of the Martian Surface

Roy, Arpita, Pennsylvania State University
Exploring the Full Potential of the PARAS Spectrograph in India


Anderson, Ross, Yale University
Preservational Controls on Neoproterozoic-Cambrian (1000 MA–485 MA) Eukaryotic Fossil Diversity in the Zavkhan Terrane of Southwestern Mongolia

Bellefroid, Eric, Yale University
Assessing the effects of Tectonic Change on the Marine Paleoenvironment and Biogeochemical Cycles During the Mesoproterozoic, Borden Basin, Northern Canada

Cammack, Jacob, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Secondary Ion Microprobe Microanalysis of the Strelley Pool Cherts, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Insight Into Fluid Sources, Alteration, and Paleoenvironmental Conditions

Evans, Scott, University of California, Riverside
Paleoecology of the Iconic Ediacaran Genera Dickinsonia, South Australia

Hashman, Breana, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Constraining Redox Conditions and Their Potential Role in Climactic Variations of the Mesoarchean as Recorded in the South African Witwatersrand and Pontola Supergroups of the Kaapvaal Craton

Patterson, Molly, University of Connecticut
Thrombolite Fabric Development in Hardwater (Green Lake, New York), Marine (Highborne Cay, Bahamas), and Hypersaline (Lake Clifton, Australia) Environments

Simpson, Anna, University of Washington
Assessing the Effects of Alpine Nitrogen Deposition, Mount Rainier, Washington

Stueeken, Eva, University of Washington
Characterizing Nutrient Cycles in Late Precambrian Lakes, Late Mesoproterozoic Torridonian Supergroup, Scotland

Tarhan, Lidya, Yale University
The Silicification of Soft-Bodied Biotas: A Model for Exceptional "Ediacara-Style" Preservation, Flinders Ranges, South Australia



Amador, Elena, University of Washington
Revealing the Habitability and Microbial Diversity of Icelandic Lava Fields: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Cable, Morgan, California Institute of Technology
Biodiversity and Habitability in Icelandic Lava Fields

Ibarra, Yadira, University of Southern California
Paleoenvironmental Significance of Microbialites From the Upper Triassic, Southwest United Kingdom, and Relevance to the End Triassic Mass Extinction

Lynch, Ryan, University of Colorado, Boulder
Understanding the Traits of Chemosynthetic Bacteria From a Martian Analog in the High-Elevation Atacama Region

Mansor, Muammar, Pennsylvania State University
Detecting Biosignatures From Biominerals Formed in Subsurface Frassasi Caves, Italy: Analogue to Mars

Schwieterman, Edward, University of Washington
Assessing the Habitability, Diversity, and Productivity of Mars Analog Environments in Iceland

Solon, Christine, University of California, Riverside
Morphology and Ecology of an Enigmatic Ediacaran Taxon, South Australia

Som, Sanjoy, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science
Hydrogen Production in Basalt-Hosted Hydrothermal Systems in Iceland

Woycheese, Kristin, University of Illinois at Chicago
Biogeochemistry and Depositional Facies of a Serpentinizing Fluid Seep in the Zambales Range Ophiolites, the Philippines


Gallagher, Timothy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Life on Land During the Mesoproterozoic: Evidence from the Midcontinent Rift System in Michigan, Minnesota, and Ontario

Harwood, Cara, University of California, Davis
Thrombolites as Records of Microbial-Metazoan Ecosystems in Cambrian Carbonates of the Southern Great Basin, Nevada

Johnson, Jena, California Institute of Technology
Manganese and the Evolution of Oxygenic Photosynthesis in Northern Cape Province, South Africa

Marnocha, Cassandra, University of Arkansas
Geomicrobiology of Rock Coatings from Karkevagge, Swedish Lapland

Price, Roy, University of Southern California
Expanding Frontiers for Origin of Life Research: Serpentine-Hosted Shallow-Sea Hydrothermal Vents in New Caledonia

Sibert, Elizabeth, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Ichthyoliths Across the KPG Boundary: Response of Pelagic Consumers to a Mass Extinction, Gubbio, Italy

Sperling, Erik, Harvard University
Oxygen, Ecology, and the Cambrian Radiation of Animals: Insights Into the Origins of Complex Life From the Mackenzie Mountains, Northwest Territories, Canada

Wilbanks, Elizabeth G., University of California, Davis
A Sulfurous Symbiosis: The Dynamic Metatranscriptome of Pink Berries in the Sippewissett Salt Marsh, Falmouth, Massachusetts


Adam, Zachary, Montana State University
Characterizing the Mesoproterozoic Microfossil Record of the Belt Supergroup, Montana

Caporaso, James G., University of Colorado, Boulder
Microbial Community Characterization of the Atacama Desert Soils, Chile

Claire, Mark, University of Washington
Searching for the Driest Place on Earth

Conrad, Alison, University of California, Santa Cruz
The Microbial Ecology of Anoxygenic Arsenite Oxidizing Photoautotrophs in Extreme Environments

Corman, Jessica, Arizona State University
Nutrient Limitation as a Factor for Microbialite Formation in Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico

Hendrickson, Sarah, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Dissolved Organic Carbon Cycling in the Deep Crustal Biosphere

Levy, Joseph, Portland State University
Chimerya: Cryosphere-Hydrothermal Interactions: Mars-Yellowstone Research for Astrobiology

Marlow, Jeffrey, California Institute of Technology
Carbonate-Based Anaerobic Methane Oxidation at Hydrate Ridge Methane Seeps

McCauley, Rebecca, Pennsylvania State University
Energy-Limited Microbial Communities as an Analog for Archean Life

Robador Ausejo, Alberto, University of Hawaii NASA Astrobiology Institute
Biosphere of Subseafloor Basaltic Crust

Shirey, Timothy B., University of Alabama
Perchlorate Reduction and Biochemistry in the Atacama Desert, Chile: The Search for Biosignatures of Life in a Martian Analog Environment

Webb, Amelinda E., Yale University
Measuring the Effects of Stress on Communities During the Ordovician-Silurian Mass Extinction on Anticosti Island, Quebec, Canada


Colon, Knicole D., University of Florida
Characterizing Transiting Extrasolar Planets with GTC/OSIRIS

Czaja, Andrew, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Field Trip to Explore Archean and Proterozoic Geology of Western Australia

Huberty, Jason, University of Wisconsin, Madison
5IAS Field Trip to the Pilbara Craton, Including the Fortescue and Hamersley Basins

Knowlton, Michele L., Arizona State University
An Interdisciplinary Look at Nitrogen (n) Fixation Occurring Within the Microbial Mats at Yellowstone National Park

McKeown, Nancy, University of California, Santa Cruz
Hyperspectral Study of the Painted Desert, Arizona, to Provide Implications for Mawrth Valis, Mars, a Likely Science Laboratory Landing Site

Percak-Dennett, Elizabeth, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Linking Laboratory and Field Studies of the Mineralogical and Iron Isotope Composition of Banded Iron Formations in Western Australia

Urschel, Matthew, Montana State University
Iron Reduction in the Subglacial Sediments of Robertson Glacier, Canada


Glass, Jennifer, Arizona State University
Evaluation of Molybdenum Diagenesis in Sediments of Castle Lake, California

Papineau, Dominic, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Influences of Phosphorous on the Carbon Cycle in the Paleoproterozoic Aravalli Supergroup

Saw, Jimmy, University of Hawaii, Manoa
Single-Cell Genome Sequencing of a Novel Gloeobacter From an Epilithic Biofilm in a Hawaiian Basaltic Cave

Smith, David J., University of Washington
Measuring Polymorphism in Northern Hemisphere Snow Algae Populations

Trail, Dustin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
A Field and Geochemical Investigation of the Oldest Known Rocks on Earth, in Acasta Gneiss Complex, Canada

Wright, Katherine, University of Colorado, Boulder
Biomarkers for Sulfur Metabolism in Icy Non-Terrestrial Environment


Black, Benjamin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Delayed Organic Recovery After End-Permian Mass Extinction and Connections with Siberian Traps, Igneous Province, Russia

Cavalazzi, Barbara, Universita' di Bologna/Portland State University
The Problem of Biogenicity and Its Detection in El Tatio, Chile

Denson, Jackie, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Survey of Microbial Diversity and Microbial Biomarkers, Kenya

Eloe, Emiley, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Influence of High Hydrostatic Pressure on Microbials in Puerto Rico Trench

Johnson, Ian, Penn State Astrobiology Research Center
Earth's Oldest Paleosol, Australia

Meyer, Michael, University of South Florida, Tampa
Morphological Change Through Time in the Ediacaran Fossil/Pteridinium in Africa

Myshrall, Kristen, University of Connecticut
Evaluating the Microbial Constituents and Their Metabolisms in Modern Thrombolites at Green Lake, New York

Nunez, Jorge, Arizona State University
Mineralogy of Spring Deposits in New Zealand With Applications to Mars

Planavsky, Noah J. , University of California, Riverside
Sulphur Isotopes in Paleoproterozoic Carabonates Labrador Trough, Canada


Adams, Melissa, Stanford University
Elucidating the in situ Metabolism of Novel Phosphorus Species by Thermophilic Cyanobacteria, Yellowstone National Park

Barge, Laura M. , University of Southern California
Precipitation in Diffusion-Controlled Systems and the Formation of Terrestrial (Utah) and Martian Hematite Concretions

Hage, Melissa, University of Tennessee
Geologic Investigation of Banded Iron Formation from the Isua Greenstone Belt, Southwest Greenland

Harris, Katherine J. , University of Oxford
Geomicrobiology of Mars Analog Lakes in the Andes-High Lakes 2007 Science Expedition

Sobron, Pablo, Centro de Astrobiologia, Spain
Raman Spectroscopy in an Extreme Environment with Astrobiological Implications, Iron Mountain, California

Warner, Nicholas, Arizona State University
Identification and Collection of Subglacially Derived Volcanic Material on the Outwash Plains of Southern Iceland



Fuchsman, Clara , University of Washington
Expedition to the Mid-Proterozoic: Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle in the Black Sea Suboxic Zone

Gleeson, Damhnait , University of Colorado, Boulder,
The Unique, Sulfur-Rich Icy Ecosystem at Borup Fiord Pass, Ellesmere Island, in the Canadian High Arctic

Hynek, Brian , University of Colorado, Boulder
Mars' Astrobiology Potential from Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua

Lopez-Morales Mercedes , Carnegie Institution of Washington
Search for Transits of Extrasolar Planets Using the Swope Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile

Morrill, Penny , Carnegie Institution of Washington
Identification of Gaseous Hydrocarbon Formation from Ultrabasic Springs in Sonoma County, California

Swanson-Hysell, Nicholas , Princeton University
Integrated Magnetic and Chemical Stratigraphy of the Bitter Springs Stage, Australia