Recently in the Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments Category


Microbiology professor Jim Holden, a researcher in the School of Earth and Sustainability, recently received a three-year, $441,219 grant from NASA's Exobiology Program to study competition between different types of thermophilic, or heat-loving, microbes that live in deep-sea volcanoes called hydrothermal vents.

Since the dawn of space exploration, humankind has been fascinated by survival of terrestrial life in outer space. Outer space is a hostile environment for any form of life, but some extraordinarily resistant microorganisms can survive.

Life In The Clouds

High above our heads, even beyond 120,000 feet up, scientists have found tiny organisms called microbes. These high-flyers were swept up from the ground by winds and storms, or spewed out through volcanic processes.

Viruses are often thought of as a human problem, however they are the most abundant biological entities on the planet. There are millions of viruses in every teaspoon of river, lake or seawater, they are found everywhere there is life and probably infect all living organisms.

For decades, scientists have gathered ancient sediment samples from below the seafloor to better understand past climates, plate tectonics and the deep marine ecosystem. In a new study published in Nature Communications, researchers reveal that given the right food in the right laboratory conditions, microbes collected from sediment as old as 100 million years can revive and multiply, even after laying dormant since large dinosaurs prowled the planet.

When the Shewanella oneidensis bacterium "breathes" in certain metal and sulfur compounds anaerobically, the way an aerobic organism would process oxygen, it produces materials that could be used to enhance electronics, electrochemical energy storage, and drug-delivery devices.

Living under a translucent rock can be quite comfortable -- if you're a moss in the Mojave Desert.

Microbial life is known to survive in all sorts of extreme environments by going into a dormant state. Could they have survived long trips around our galaxy to seed life on Earth? Astrobiologist Nicol Caplin talks extreme life in this episode of Meet The Experts.

Caltech microbiologists have discovered bacteria that feed on manganese and use the metal as their source of calories. Such microbes were predicted to exist over a century ago, but none had been found or described until now.

Dinosaurs ruled these lands from 245 million to about 65 million years ago. You can see their fossils at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis or take a look at Big Al, the Allosaurus at the Geological Museum on the University of Wyoming campus. Wimps.