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Extreme Life and Environments
STONE experiment
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Some of the worlds most acidic water ever found on Earth is in the
Richmond Mine near Redding, California.
Credit: C. Alpers & D.K. Nordstrom, USGS
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This image shows the pink biofilm, just a few millimeters thick, growing onto the surface of the water at the Richmond Mine.
Credit: Clara Chan/UC Berkeley
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Monazite is a common mineral that can tell scientists a great deal about the history
of rocks that contain it.

Credit: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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Gypsum dunes in Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico. Photo Credit: Leslie Mullen
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Valeria Souza holds a stromatolite pulled out of Rio Mesquites. Photo Credit: Leslie Mullen
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Stromatolites and fish living in harmony in Rio Mesquites. Photo Credit: Mya Breitbart, University of South Florida.
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Stromatolite producing oxygen bubbles. Scientists believe that ancient stromatolites helped produce much of the oxygen on Earth millions of years ago. Photo Credit: Mya Breitbart, University of South Florida.
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Poza Azul in the Cuatro Cienegas valley of Mexico. Photo Credit: Mya Breitbart, University of South Florida.
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Climbing the gypsum dunes of Cuatro Cienegas. Photo credit: Mya Breitbart, University of South Florida.
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The Taklimakan Desert in northwest China is a vast region of sand desert sitting in
a depression between two high, rugged mountain ranges.
Credit: NASA
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The Atacama desert in Chile, one of Chris McKay's research sites, is the driest
environment recorded on Earth.
Credit: Aaron Gronstal
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ESP lead engineer Scott Jenson and project manager Doug Pargett make final adjustments before sealing up the instrument in its deep-water high-pressure casing. Credit: Henry Bortman
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The ESP, attached to an open aluminum frame below the ROV Ventana, being lowered into Monterey Bay for its first deep-water test at 1,000 meters. Credit: Henry Bortman
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The ESP II team aboard the Point Lobos after a successful test at 1,000 meters. From left: Brent roman, software engineer; microbiologist Chris Preston; Chris Scholin, principal investigator; and Doug Pargett, project manager and engineer. Credit: MBARI
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In the past, much of what we knew about microbes was based on information gathered
from single organisms cultured in laboratories. However, many kinds of microbes cannot be cultured with known methods.
Credit: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
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The undersea robot Jason II examines the 'smoking' Medusa vent.
Credit: Duke University
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Pink, bell-shaped Stauromedusae jellyfish have been identified at the
Medusa hydrothermal vent field.
Credit: Duke University
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Wynne installs a temperature sensor at the entrance to a cave in the Mojave Desert.
Credit: Henry Bortman
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Credit: Henry Bortman
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Wynne (right) takes thermal readings from the basket of a hot-air balloon, while Jim Thompson, the balloon's owner and captain, takes digital photographs.
Credit: Henry Bortman
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Wynne, atop a cinder cone, radios instructions to colleagues in the lava beds below.
Credit: Henry Bortman
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A thermagram taken last December by Wynne of the entrance (red) to Four Windows Cave in New Mexico.
Credit: J Judson Wynne
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Credit: UC Berkeley
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A tar pit at Rancho La Brea. Pits like these have yielded thousands of
animal fossils. Credit: D. E. Crowley, UCR.
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Rancho La Brea sits in the heart of Los Angeles and is one of the
world's most famous fossil localities. The site holds the largest and
most diverse assemblage of extinct Ice Age plants and animals known.
Credit: UC Berkeley/Page Museum/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
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Jong-Shik Kim (left) is a postdoctoral researcher working with David E.
Crowley (right), a professor of environmental microbiology in the
Department of Environmental Sciences. Credit: J.-S. Kim, UCR.
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The NASA-supported DEPTHX robot is a submarine designed to survey and explore for
life in extreme regions on Earth and potentially in outer space.
Credit: Carnegie Mellon University
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DEPTHX will attempt to provide the first information about the bottom of Mexico's
Cenote Zacatón. The science team hopes to learn about the sinkhole's physical
dimensions, the geothermal vents that feed it and the forms of life that live in its depths.
Credit: Carnegie Mellon University
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Scientists in the Antarctic use a specially designed trawl net to sample the deep sea.

Credit: British Antarctic Survey
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This carnivorous moonsnail lives in the Antarctic deep sea. It can detect food from
a wide distance and will move towards it. Polyps, covering its shell, use the
moonsnail as transport to food sources.

Credit: British Antarctic Survey
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The deep ocean off of Antarctica was once thought to be a 'featureless abyss'. Now
scientists know that these waters actually harbor a great diversity of marine life.

Credit: NASA
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Wangiella dermatitidis is one type of fungi exposed to ionizing
radiation in the study.
Credit: University of Adelaide
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An example of melanized fungal cells observed by the research team.
Credit: Dadachova/Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva
University/PLoS ONE
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Doctoral student Marcus Gary SCUBA dives with the DEPTHX probe during initial
in-water tests at The University of Texas at Austin Applied Research Laboratories
wet test facility
Credit: The University of Texas at Austin
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A it dove, the DEPTHX robot generated a map of the El Zacatón sinkhole to a depth of
318 meters. For a 3-dimensional view, click here.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University
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The Jaguar AUV is lowered into the Arctic Ocean from the icebreaker Oden during a
June 2007 engineering test.
Credit: Clayton Kunz, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
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The topographic and bathymetric map of the Arctic Ocean shows the Gakkel Ridge,
Nansen Basin, Lomononsov Ridge, and the proposed cruise track of the Oden. (Data
from the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean and the National Geophysical Data Center; with graphic enhancements by Jack Cook, Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution)
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Quake's team at Stanford
University has been developing microfluidic devices for half a decade. Their recent
work produced a tiny device about the size of a postage stamp that can allow
researchers to isolate microbes at the nanoliter scale.
Credit: Quake Group, Stanford University
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Candidatus Chloracidobacterium (Cab.) thermophilum was found living in the same hot
springs as Thermus aquaticus, which has revolutionized forensics and other fields by
making the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) a routine procedure.
Credit: National Science Programs, Canada
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Amaya Garcia, a member of the team that discovered the new bacterium, stands next to
the colorful microbial mats in Octopus Spring in Yellowstone National Park.

Credit: David Strong, Penn State

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Antarctica is home to the largest body of ice on Earth. Years ago, the environment
beneath the ice sheets was thought to be too extreme for life. However, researchers
today have discovered numerous types of microbes living in Antarctic ice as well as
in sub-ice lakes.
Credit: USGS
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Sample of rock from Beer, with coin for scale. Credit: Professor Charles Cockell, Open University.

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Thermophilic bacteria isolated from Bag City Vent, one of the vents that was part of
the MBL/JISAO microbial diversity study.
Credit: Julie Huber / Marine Biological Laboratory
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The new microbes were discovered around deep-sea hydrothermal vents off the Oregon
Credit: Google Maps / Marine Biological Laboratory
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The island nation of Iceland, in the north Atlantic, is famous as a hotspot for
geothermal activity. Although located in chilly northern climes, the land is
peppered with active geysers and volcanoes.
Credit: NASA
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The reddish color of this geyser pool near Yellowstone's Norris Geyser
Basin may be due, in part, to iron-oxidizing bacteria living in its
heated waters.
Credit: Idaho National Laboratory
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