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Life
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July 16, 2009
Suspending a life in time is a theme that normally finds itself in the pages of science fiction, but now such ideas have become a reality in the annals of science.
Cornell ecologist Nelson Hairston Jr. is a pioneer in a field known loosely as "resurrection ecology," in which researchers study the eggs of such creatures as zooplankton -- tiny, free-floating water animals -- that get buried in lake sediments and can remain viable for decades or even centuries. By hatching these eggs, Hairston and others can compare time-suspended hatchlings with their more contemporary counterparts to better understand how a species may have evolved in the meantime.

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RE: extreme lifeform
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Deep under the Antarctic ice, a rare, colourful burst of starfish and 3m-long monster worms has been filmed by a BBC camera crew.
Filmed in time-lapse, the extraordinary swarm of deep-sea creatures gathers to feed in a frenzy on the body of a seal, which had sunk to the ocean floor.

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Exploring How Bacteria Thrive in the Great Salt Lake
Extreme conditions at the Great Salt Lake put special pressures on the tiny, single-celled organisms that live there. The lake's high salt content limits the amount of oxygen in its water. When night falls, oxygen-generating photosynthesis stops, and the living creatures quickly use up what's left. To survive, bacteria and other microorganisms must change how they get their energy.
Understanding how the community of life responds to these varying conditions can help scientists use bacteria to clean up contamination, develop energy sources, protect our health and the health of our ecosystems. Researchers at EMSL will build a database of the proteins found in the lake's bacteria and archaea, another microbe found in extreme environments. Proteins are an organisms' toolkit, and Utah State University researchers will be able to use this information to monitor how the microbial community uses its toolkit to respond to changing conditions.

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Herminiimonas glaciei
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After more than 120,000 years trapped beneath a block of ice in Greenland, a tiny microbe has awoken... The new bacteria species was found nearly 3 km beneath a Greenland glacier, where temperatures can dip well below freezing, pressure soars, and food and oxygen are scarce. 'We don't know what state they were in,' said study team member Jean Brenchley of Pennsylvania State University. 'They could've been dormant, or they could've been slowly metabolising, but we don't know for sure.'
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A novel bacterium -- trapped more than three kilometres under glacial ice in Greenland for over 120,000 years -- may hold clues as to what life forms might exist on other planets.
Dr Jennifer Loveland-Curtze and a team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University report finding the novel microbe, which they have called Herminiimonas glaciei, in the current issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. The team showed great patience in coaxing the dormant microbe back to life; first incubating their samples at 2C for seven months and then at 5C for a further four and a half months, after which colonies of very small purple-brown bacteria were seen.
H. glaciei is small even by bacterial standards - it is 10 to 50 times smaller than E. coli. Its small size probably helped it to survive in the liquid veins among ice crystals and the thin liquid film on their surfaces. Small cell size is considered to be advantageous for more efficient nutrient uptake, protection against predators and occupation of micro-niches and it has been shown that ultramicrobacteria are dominant in many soil and marine environments.

Society for General Microbiology

Title: Herminiimonas glaciei sp. nov., a novel ultramicrobacterium from 3042 m deep Greenland glacial ice
Authors: Jennifer Loveland-Curtze, Vanya I. Miteva and Jean E. Brenchley

A Gram-negative ultramicrobacterium (designated strain UMB49T) was isolated from a 120 000-year-old, 3042 m deep Greenland glacier ice core using a 0.2 m filtration enrichment procedure. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence indicated that this strain belonged to the genus Herminiimonas of the family Oxalobacteraceae of the class Betaproteobacteria. Strain UMB49T was most closely related to Herminiimonas saxobsidens (99.6 % sequence similarity), Herminiimonas arsenicoxydans (98.4 %), Herminiimonas aquatilis (97.6 %) and Herminiimonas fonticola (97.9 %). Genomic DNA-DNA hybridisation showed low levels of relatedness (below 57 %) to H. saxobsidens and H. arsenicoxydans. Cells of strain UMB49T were small thin rods with a mean volume of 0.043 m and possessed 1 or 2 polar and/or 1-3 lateral very long flagella. The original colony pigmentation was brown-purple but after recultivation the colonies were translucent white to tan coloured. Strain UMB49T grew aerobically and under microaerophilic conditions. The strain produced catalase and oxidase, but did not reduce nitrate. Sole carbon sources included citrate, succinate, malate, lactate and alanine. The strain produced acid from L-arabinose, D-arabinose, L-xylose, D-xylose and D-ribose. The DNA G+C content was 59.0 mol%. Based on differential characteristics of strain UMB49T and recognised Herminiimonas species, it was concluded that strain UMB49T represents a novel species of the genus Herminiimonas, for which the name Herminiimonas glaciei sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is UMB49T (=ATCC BAA-1623T=DSM 21140T).

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Extremophile
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Making its home near extreme temperatures of thermal vents on the ocean floor, the organism Methanopyrus kandleri harbours a molecular secret that intrigues evolutionary biologists and even HIV researchers.
It turns out that the extremophile M. kandleri contains a mutation that would normally shut down cellular activity, Yale researchers report in the May 1 edition of the journal Science.

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Extremophiles
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A new species of archaebacteria, Pyrococcus CH1, thriving within a temperature range of 80 to 105C and able to divide itself up to a hydrostatic pressure of 120 Mpa (1000 times higher than the atmospheric pression), has just been discovered. This discovery was made by the microbiologists of the Microbiology of Extreme Environments Laboratory (Joint Research Unit between the CNRS, Ifremer and University of Western Brittany UBO), in partnership with the Institute of Oceanography of Xiamen (China) and the Earth Science Laboratory (JRU CNRS, ENS Lyon and University of Lyon). This archaebacteria had been isolated from samples of the Serpentine (1) cruise, during which a Franco-Russian team has explored the mid-Atlantic ridge for six weeks in order to discover new hydrothermal vents.

The scientific paper about this discovery is published in The ICSM Journal (May issue).

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Extreme lifeform
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Scientists in Antarctica have discovered a colony of microbes that appear to have lived for millions of years under an ice formation hundreds of meters thick.
The population under Taylor Glacier is another example of stretching the boundaries of where life can thrive.

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Three new species of bacteria, which are not found on Earth and which are highly resistant to ultra-violet radiation, have been discovered in the upper stratosphere by Indian scientists. One of the new species has been named as Janibacter hoylei, after the Distinguished Astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, the second as Bacillus isronensis recognising the contribution of ISRO in the balloon experiments which led to its discovery and the third as Bacillus aryabhata after Indias celebrated ancient astronomer Aryabhata and also the first satellite of ISRO.
The experiment was conducted using a 26.7 million cubic feet balloon carrying a 459 kg scientific payload soaked in 38 kg of liquid Neon, which was flown from the National Balloon Facility in Hyderabad, operated by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

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Jet Propulsion Laboratory will host a "Life in Extreme Environment" conference Saturday at 8 a.m. for educators, museum staff and students in high school or above who are interested in Earth and space science and exploration.

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