Extreme Microbes Found in Crystals Buried 200 Feet Beneath the Sea of Japan
January 17, 2019.
Recently, In the depths of the ocean off the coast of Japan, with extremely cold temperatures and high pressure, microbes were discovered inside of small mineral grains sealed into crystals. These were discovered during an expedition sampling gas hydrates.
Its pretty incredible to find microbes in such extreme conditions such as this. In fact, we touched on the topic in class, they are often known as “Extremeophiles.” These are organisms that are able to live in otherwise uninhabitable environments.
I think its pretty neat that even though the researchers were originally searching for something else, they found this incredible discovery. Being from a pretty cool and efficiently sourced scientific website, I believe this article to be accurate. The microbes were effectively “sealed” into a environment perfect for them, within these crystals. No other organisms were introduced, this makes for a really incredible historical discovery as well, seeing as these organisms have been in a protected environment for hundreds if not thousands of years.
What I wanted to know, was could these organisms tell us a little about the past for sure? Being in an enclosed system, possibly could have halted any sort of evolution.
1 Comment for “A2: Microbes in the News- Deep Sea Japan”
This is a super cool article! I find it especially interesting because I can relate it to an article that I just posted about bacteria being preserved in water bubbles. I also agree that the article seems to be trustworthy and likely accurate. The fact that the author considered the contamination of these environments by scientists’ equipment shows that the accuracy was likely highly considered in the finding. It did bother me a little bit that the article didn’t name any specific microorganisms and was fairly general though.
In relation to your question, I too wondered about what these old organisms could tell us. I wasn’t able to look up anything to do with the specific microbiota found because it wasn’t clearly stated in the article, but I was able to find some information on the evolution of isolated microorganisms. According to an article from 2004 I found, evolution can actually occur in very isolated communities (Papke and Ward). The changes that often occur, however, are not usually very distinct because of the consistency of the environment. Change can occur though because mutation and recombination is still a possibility.
Papke, R. T., Ward, D. M. 2004. The importance of physical isolation to microbial diversification. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 48: 293-303.