These days it is very hip to do things eXtreme. Don’t believe me? Try googling “extreme”. I suppose I have jumped on the bandwagon by studying life in one of the most “extreme” environments on Earth (deep sea hydrothermal vents). The environment I study is home to the most thermally tolerant organisms on the planet, living at temperatures well above 100°C (but not boiling because of the extreme pressure). Because of my research interests, I am always on the look out for new discoveries in the realm of “extremophiles” – organisms that thrive in extreme environments. Most of them can not survive conditions we think of as more reasonable.
I was surprised to find this story about scientists exploring the microbial diversity if the Antarctic, which says that they found an unexpected number of heat loving microbes locked in the Antarctic ice. It brings some interesting evolutionary questions to mind, not the least of which is what are those microbes doing there, and how are they adapted to survive such opposite ends of the thermal spectrum? I’ll have to think more about that one and get back to you. I can’t wait to see what the team publishes!