Recently in the Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments Category


Antarctic fish that manufacture their own "antifreeze" proteins to survive in the icy Southern Ocean also suffer an unfortunate side effect, researchers report: The protein-bound ice crystals that accumulate inside their bodies resist melting even when temperatures warm.

NASA's Exposing Microorganisms in the Stratosphere (E-MIST) experiment launched to the Earth's stratosphere on the exterior of a giant scientific balloon gondola at about 8 a.m. MST on Aug. 24 from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico.

Researchers this week published a paper confirming that the waters and sediments of a lake that lies 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the surface of the West Antarctic ice sheet support "viable microbial ecosystems."

Living Organisms in Oil

Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen have discovered that these communities of microorganisms play a part in breaking down the oil and have published their findings in the renowned journal Science.

Roy Price first heard about the hydrothermal vents in New Caledonia's Bay of Prony a decade ago. Being a scuba diver and a geologist, he was fascinated by the pictures of a 38-meter-high calcite "chimney" that had precipitated out of the highly-alkaline vent fluid.

Scientists from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos have discovered a new plant species with an unusual lifestyle -- it eats nickel for a living -- accumulating up to 18,000 ppm of the metal in its leaves without itself being poisoned.

In the movies, humans often fear invaders from Mars. These days, scientists are more concerned about invaders to Mars, in the form of micro-organisms from Earth. Three recent scientific papers examined the risks of interplanetary exchange of organisms using research from the International Space Station.

More than a mile beneath the ocean's surface, as dark clouds of mineral-rich water billow from seafloor hot springs called hydrothermal vents, unseen armies of viruses and bacteria wage war.

Deep-sea hydrothermal plumes--waters nearly two miles down in the ocean--are home to processes that effect life across the planet. However, high pressure and water temperatures that exceed 300 degrees Celsius have made research on the plumes very difficult.

Microbiologist Jill Mikucki first saw a photo of Blood Falls during a class for her master's degree at Portland State University. It immediately captivated her.