A2: Microbes in the News: New Species in the Ice

Article and link:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190115121103.htm

Published: January 15th, 2019

Scientists identify two new species of fungi in retreating Arctic glacier

Summary- This short article introduces two new fungal species which inhabit glacial ice on Ellesmere Island. The author also begins to explain how their habitat is being affected by climate change and what further research is being performed.

Connections- While we have not covered much yet, I did find it interesting that the researchers proposed the name Mrakia hoshinonis after Tamotsu Hoshino, a polar region fungi researcher from the National Institute of Advanced Science and Technology. The other species is proposed to be called Vishniacozyma ellesmerensis after the island where it was discovered. The naming process reminded me of the Epithet assignment. These microbes also live in cold environments, which means they could be categorized as psychrophiles.

Critical analysis- I found this story interesting because it shows just how much we still don’t know about microbes in general, let alone the ones that live in extreme environments. I do not think there was enough information in this story to say it is scientifically accurate or not. The author does not talk too much on how the researchers found and identified the species. Because of our lack of knowledge, it is easy to see why two new species could be found in one small area. The author went on a tangent in the article to talk about climate change. And while it had to do with further research, I felt like it stole the show from the idea of new species in glacial ice and what the implications are of the discovery. The public may not recognize all the different aspects that go into discovering a new species, and they might get caught up in the scary climate change drama.

Question- What can we learn from microbes that live in extremely cold environments?