Tullis Onstott

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Tullis Onstott
Residence New Jersey, United States
Nationality American
Alma mater California Institute of Technology
Princeton University
Scientific career
Fields Geology
Institutions Princeton University

Tullis Onstott is a professor of geosciences at Princeton University who has done research into endolithic life deep under the Earth's surface. In 2007, Onstott was listed among Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.[1] In 2011 he co-discovered Halicephalobus mephisto, a nematode worm living 0.9–3.6 km (0.56–2.24 mi) under the ground,[2] the deepest multicellular organism known to science. He won a LExEN Award for his work "A Window Into the Extreme Environment of Deep Subsurface Microbial Communities: Witwatersrand Deep Microbiology Project".[3]


Research projects include:[4]

  • South African Deep Microbiology: characterizing the microbiology and geochemistry of continental crust down to 5 km (3.1 mi).
  • Indiana-Princeton-Tennessee Astrobiology Institute: preparing for the search for life beneath the surface of Mars.
  • Natural Earthquake Laboratory in South African Mines: installed a field laboratory at 3.8 km (2.4 mi) depth, exploring the relationship between seismic activity and microbial diversity and activity.
  • Anaerobic biostimulation for the in situ precipitation and long-term sequestration of metal sulphides.


  1. ^ National Aeronautics and Space Administration.NAI’s Tullis Onstott makes “Time 100” 2007-05-03.
  2. ^ Borgonie, J.; García-Moyano, A.; Litthauer, D.; Bert, W.; Bester, A.; van Heerden, E.; Möller, C.; Erasmus, M.; Onstott, T. C. (2011). "Nematoda from the terrestrial deep subsurface of South Africa". Nature. 474 (7349): 79–82. PMID 21637257. doi:10.1038/nature09974. 
  3. ^ Limits Of Life On Earth: Are They The Key To Life On Other Planets?
  4. ^ Tullis Onstott. Princeton University Home Page Retrieved 2010-12-01.

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