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Extreme lifeform
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Rainmaking bacteria that live in clouds may have evolved the ability to spur showers as a way to disperse themselves worldwide, a recent study found.
The research gives scientists a first glimpse into the link between biology and climate, and into how the tiny organisms globe-trot with the weather cycle.
The microbes - called ice nucleators - are found in rain, snow, and hail throughout the world, according to previous work by Brent Christner, a microbiologist at Louisiana State University.

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Sulphur caves
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Unusual microbial ropes grow slowly in cave lake
Deep inside the Frasassi cave system in Italy and more than 1,600 feet below the Earth's surface, divers found filamentous ropes of microbes growing in the cold water, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

"Sulphur caves are a microbiology paradise. Many different types of organisms live in the caves and use the sulphur. We are trying to map which organisms live where in the caves and how they correspond to the geochemical environment" - Jennifer L. Macalady, assistant professor of geosciences.

In this process, Macalady and her team discovered a previously unknown form of biofilm growing in the oxygen-deficient portion of the lake.

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RE: extreme lifeform
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Scientists have long known that life can exist in some very extreme environments. But Earth continues to surprise us.
At a European Science Foundation (ESF) and COST (European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research) Frontiers of Science meeting in Sicily in October, scientists described apparently productive ecosystems in two places where life was not known before, under the Antarctic ice sheet, and above concentrated salt lakes beneath the Mediterranean. In both cases, innumerable tiny microbes are fixing or holding onto quantities of organic carbon large enough to be significant in the global carbon cycle.

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New life forms in the hot springs of Yellowstone
Yellowstone's hot springs show vivid yellows, oranges, reds, ochres, greens and blue-greens. Many of these colours are pigments produced by the different species of bacteria that exist on and within the roughly inch-thick microbial mats that form in and near the springs runoff channels. Octopus Spring earned its name from its complex shape. It's an alkaline spring, with a pH of 8.5 (the pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral: neither acidic nor alkaline). Octopus Spring also has a high content of dissolved silica and a relatively low sulphide content. Its geothermally heated source releases 95-degree C water (203 degrees F) very near boiling at the high altitude of Yellowstone, in the Rocky Mountains.

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A bug which lives entirely on its own and survives without oxygen in complete darkness underground has been discovered in South Africa.
Desulforudis audaxviator, or bold traveller as it is known in English, relies on water, hydrogen and sulphate for its energy.
Because it gets by without oxygen, it could offer clues as to whether life exists on other planets.

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The first ecosystem ever found having only a single biological species has been discovered 2.8 kilometres beneath the surface of the earth in the Mponeng gold mine near Johannesburg, South Africa. There the rod-shaped bacterium Desulforudis audaxviator exists in complete isolation, total darkness, a lack of oxygen, and 60-degree-Celsius heat (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
D. audaxviator survives in a habitat where it gets its energy not from the sun but from hydrogen and sulphate produced by the radioactive decay of uranium. Living alone, D. audaxviator must build its organic molecules by itself out of water, inorganic carbon, and nitrogen from ammonia in the surrounding rocks and fluid. During its long journey to the extreme depths, evolution has equipped the versatile spelunker with genes many of them shared with archaea, members of a separate domain of life unrelated to bacteria that allow it to cope with a range of different conditions, including the ability to fix nitrogen directly from elemental nitrogen in the environment.

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The "deepest ever" living fish have been discovered, scientists believe.
A UK-Japan team found the 17-strong shoal at depths of 7.7km (4.8 miles) in the Japan Trench in the Pacific - and captured the deep sea animals on film.

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In the warm, bubbling pools of Mono Lake in California, scientists have isolated a bacterium that fuels itself on arsenic.
Combining light and arsenic, these bacteria make their food and multiply using a chemical that is toxic to most other life forms.
The researchers think using arsenic as an energy source was a process used by ancient bacteria.

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A live deep-sea fish has been caught at a record depth of 2,300m on the hot vents of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Three shrimp species were also pulled to the surface, researchers report in the journal Deep-Sea Research.

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Tiny microbes beneath the sea floor, distinct from life on the Earth's surface, may account for one-tenth of the Earth's living biomass, according to an interdisciplinary team of researchers, but many of these minute creatures are living on a geologic timescale.

"Our first study, back in 2006, made some estimates that the cells could double every 100 to 2,000 years" - Jennifer F. Biddle, PhD. recipient in biochemistry and former postdoctoral fellow in geosciences, Penn State. Biddle is now a postdoctoral associate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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