Recently in the Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments Category


A team of researchers from the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography and their collaborators have revealed that the abundant microbes living in ancient sediment below the seafloor are sustained primarily by chemicals created by the natural irradiation of water molecules.

Ten years ago, researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark, reported the discovery of centimeter-long cable bacteria, that live by conducting an electric current from one end to the other.

Using years' worth of data collected from ice-covered habitats all over the world, a Montana State University team has discovered new insights into the processes that support microbial life underneath ice sheets and glaciers, and the role those organisms play in perpetuating life through ice ages and, perhaps, in seemingly inhospitable environments on other planets.

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.