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Polar Bugs in Your Backyard
Topic: Extreme Life
To study the bacteria which survive in extreme cold, scientists no longer have to go to extreme environments, such as Antarctic lakes and glaciers. Bacteria previously isolated from polar climates, and have properties which allow them to survive in extreme cold, have been isolated from soil in temperate environments.

Gaseous Microbes
Topic: Extreme Life
During an expedition off the South American coast, an international team of ocean scientists discovered that the gases ethane and propane are being produced by microorganisms in deeply buried sediments.

Even Single Cells Stick Together
Topic: Extreme Life
New research published by Rice University biologists in this week's issue of Nature finds that even the simplest of social creatures - single-celled amoebae - have the ability not only to recognize their own family members but also to selectively discriminate in favor of them.

The Ammonia-Oxidizing Gene
Topic: Extreme Life
Archaea may play a larger role in the nitrogen cycle than previously thought. A recent genetic analysis of soil samples indicates that crenarchaeota are the most abundant land-based creatures to oxidize ammonia. Combining ammonia with oxygen forms nitrates, which are used as nutrients by plants.

A Tower of Slime
Topic: Extreme Life
In times of plenty, the uni-cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum leads a solitary life. But when slime molds starve, they collectively form a multicellular slug-like creature that locomotes en masse to a more favorable spot. Then they literally stand up, forming a tower designed to save the children.

Searching for Aliens
Topic: Extreme Life
In this interview, Chris McKay talks about the potential for other kinds of life in the universe, and how we could begin to look for those aliens.

Treasure at Sea?
Topic: Extreme Life
An international team of scientists is exploring seafloor near Papua New Guinea in western Pacific Ocean this month with remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles, investigating active and inactive hydrothermal vents and formation of mineral deposits containing copper, gold, and other minerals.

Switching Skeletons
Topic: Extreme Life
Leopards may not be able to change their spots, but corals can change their skeletons, building them out of different minerals depending on the chemical composition of the seawater around them.

Deliquescence in the Atacama
Topic: Extreme Life
After years of searching for evidence of microbial life in the driest region of Chile´s Atacama Desert, chemist Jacek Wierzchos finally found it. Living inside rocks made of salt. But how it manages to eke out a living there is still a bit of a mystery.

The Last Time It Rained
Topic: Extreme Life
Astrobiology Magazine´s managing editor, Henry Bortman, is hanging out with a group of astrobiologists in the driest place on Earth, Chile´s Atacama Desert. Yungay, an abandoned mining settlement in the Atacama, was until recently thought to be completely devoid of life. But new evidence hints at the possibility that even here, where rainfall is an event that occurs once a decade, microbial life can eke out an existence.

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