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Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments: May 2014


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.