Recently in the Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments Category


Researchers at Stanford University have found an aquatic highway that releases nutrients from within the Earth and ferries them up to surface waters off the coast of Antarctica. There the nutrients stimulate explosive growth of microscopic ocean algae.

Germs and Geothermals

The collaboration is looking at a group of organisms called 'extremophiles'--organisms that live in extremely hot or extremely cold environments unsuited to human habitation.

The first study of ultra-small bacteria living in the extreme environment of Ethiopia's Dallol hot springs shows that life can thrive in conditions similar to those thought to have been found on the young planet Mars.

Scientists from the University of East Anglia have discovered a unique oil eating bacteria in the deepest part of the Earth's oceans - the Mariana Trench.

Microbes That Grow On Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide is a fascinating and versatile molecule, important for all living things as well as our environment: It is highly reactive and toxic, it is used as a signaling molecule, it depletes the ozone layer in our planet's atmosphere and it is the precursor of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O).

Last August, Abdelrhman Mohamed found himself hiking deep into the wilderness of Yellowstone National Park. Unlike thousands of tourists who trek to admire the park's iconic geysers and hot springs every year, the WSU graduate student was traveling with a team of scientists to hunt for life within them.

Far below the ocean floor, sediments are teeming with bizarre zombie-like microbes. Although they're technically alive, they grow in slow motion, and can take decades for a single cell to divide--something their cousins at the surface do in a matter of minutes.

Microorganisms living underneath the surface of the earth have a total carbon mass of 15 to 23 billion tons, hundreds of times more than that of humans, according to findings announced by the Deep Carbon Observatory and coauthored by UT Professor of Microbiology Karen Lloyd.

In recent years, scientists have engineered bacteria with expanded genetic codes that produce proteins made from a wider range of molecular building blocks, opening up a promising front in protein engineering.

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute have discovered nearly two dozen new types of microbes, many of which use hydrocarbons such as methane and butane as energy sources to survive and grow.