space microbes aren’t so alien after all

January 8, 2019

The link is to a great article about bacteria adapting to the harsh conditions of the International Space Station (ISS)!   There are thousands of different microbes in the ISS.   They all have mutated to cope with the stressful environment of space.   We have discussed the high mutation rate of bacteria in class and this is well illustrated through the study.

The study did a fine job of engaging the public by including rhetoric that captivates the public’s imagination. The article included reference to the study of bacteria in preparation for voyages to mars and subdued concern of any health risk in space bacteria could pose.   Additionally the author included many factors that could affect bacterial colonization, and posed questions and parameters a scientist would consider in studying bacteria in space.   The Author also used specific strands of bacteria to further inform readers.   I found the perimeters scientists thought may effect bacterial growth (radiation, microgravity, and lack of ventilation to be interesting.

I am curious to know more about the mutations these bacteria have undergone, and what selection pressures led to these mutations.

Ryan A. Blaustein, Alexander G. McFarland, Sarah Ben Maamar, Alberto Lopez, Sarah Castro-Wallace, Erica M. Hartmann.

A2: Microbes in the News- Deep Sea Japan

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.