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IGA Lecture: Dr. Michal Szpak (GSI) – Life Beneath the Gyre.

25 March, 2015 @ 5:45 PM - 7:00 PM GMT

Our last talk for the season – and we have had a packed programme covering winter 2014/spring 2015 – is Dr Michal Szpak (originally from Poland but currently associated with the Geological Survey of Ireland).  The title and abstract of his talk are below, as is a short biography that he has supplied.

The talk will take place at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015, in the Geological Survey of Ireland (Beggars Bush, Dublin 2) and there will be coffee/tea and biccies beforehand from 5:45 pm.

Don’t miss this talk: a rare opportunity to hear about the Ocean Drilling Programme (ODP), and because the next talk will be at the start of the Autumn season (September 2015). We will, however, be having some field trips in the interim (stay tuned – activities are continuing).

See you there!

Title: Life Beneath the Gyre.

Speaker: Dr. Michal Szpak (GSI)


In 2007, a survey carried out by Prof. Steve D’Hondt from University of Rhode Island (USA) resulted in the discovery of extremely low-activity bacterial communities in the South Pacific Gyre – the largest of the world’s oceanic provinces. These communities were characterized by low biomass and respiration rates that are orders of magnitude lower than in previously explored sties. Moreover, unlike in most areas of world’s oceans, oxygen was to found to be present throughout the sedimentary column. This finding challenged the paradigm of a deep, anoxic biosphere and led, in 2010, to Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) expedition 329, “South Pacific Gyre Subseafloor Life”, aboard the drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution. Irish-based scientist Dr. Michal Szpak was invited to participate in this expedition. In this talk, he will discuss the science behind exploring the deep biosphere in this exciting setting, the technology that makes exploration of such inaccessible regions of our planet possible and speak of his own experiences aboard of the JOIDES Resolution.


Dr. Michal Szpak started his career in industry as a Process Engineer with background in Industrial Chemistry. But after two years, in 2006, he moved to Ireland to pursue a PhD in environmental sciences with Dr. Brian Kelleher at Dublin City University. In his doctoral work, Michal was exploring chemical, geophysical and geological aspects of shallow gas accumulations in Irish offshore waters. His expertise is in marine geochemistry and fluid flow in the marine environment. During and after his PhD, he participated in several expeditions aboard Irish national research vessels and was the first Irish-based student to participate in an Integrated Ocean Drilling Program expedition.


25 March, 2015
5:45 PM - 7:00 PM GMT
Event Category:


IGA Council Members