Microbe lasagna tells us about what life was like billions of years ago Layers of bacteria and rock leave their fingerprints behind by changing the kinds of carbon atoms we might find in the environment.

Sort of like a fossilized microbial lasagna, fossils called “stromatolites” are formed when layered communities of different types of bacteria trap sand, dirt, and debris in their structure over time. Stromatolites are found in rocks as old as 3.5 billion years, and containing the planet’s earliest life forms.

Bacteria from the Black Sea Have an Unusual Diet A new species of bacterium was discovered that lives off manganese and sulfur instead of oxygen or carbon dioxide

Many organisms live by breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide, and those that don’t often live by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. However, did you know that these aren’t the only ways life can survive? Researchers recently discovered Sulfurimonas marinigri, a species of bacteria that survives by taking in sulfur and manganese instead of oxygen and carbon. This method of survival has long been theorized, but could never be proven until now.

Contaminants in groundwater can take over 20 years to break down But scientists have a method for removing the contaminants more quickly, using a underground barrier.

Have you ever driven past an old factory building and wondered what ever happened to the harsh chemicals that were used there? If you guessed that a lot of the chemicals ended up in the environment, you would be right. READ MORE

Mining with acid-generating bacteria Sulfuric acid production by sulfur-oxidizing bacteria may be a solution to a long standing mining problem.

Sulfuric acid production by sulfur-oxidizing bacteria may be a solution to a long standing mining problem.

Dying Coral Reefs are Springing Forward with New Life Researchers look at the mix of bacteria that established themselves within damaged coral reefs.

Our coral reef ecosystems, often called “underwater rainforests,” are quickly changing. Coral reefs are elaborate and complex ecosystems and even though they make up only a small fraction of the ocean, they contain 25% of all marine life. Reefs are READ MORE

Antibiotic resistance is natural and it is everywhere Researchers have found bacteria with antibiotic resistance genes in Antarctic environments untouched by humans.

Antibiotic resistance is a major public health crisis worldwide as bacteria develop the ability to defend themselves against many, sometimes all, of the antibiotics we have at our disposal. Infections caused by these bacteria are often life-threatening. In order to READ MORE

Oxygen, nitrogen, and what happens when biology gets involved How the Great Oxidation Event and photosynthesis created the nitrogen cycle we know today

When studying Earth’s past, researchers want to understand how nutrients like nitrogen cycled and the impact biology had on them. Scientists rely on ancient rock, soil, fossils, and marine sediment to understand the world that used to be.  Approximately 2.5 READ MORE

Monarch Migration Disrupted The migration pattern of monarch butterflies is extremely fragile and we may be disrupting this critical stage in their lifecycle

Have you ever raised monarch butterflies? Finding eggs on milkweed plants and bringing them indoors to protect them from predators while at the same time watching the beauty of their transformation is a common childhood experience for people in North READ MORE

Heating Up the Microbial Soup: Warm Oceans May Benefit Cyanobacteria Cyanobacteria can grow better with limited nutrients if the water temperature is increased, but only to a certain extent.

The oceans are warming due to climate change and this will impact all oceanic life, from the smallest plankton to the largest tuna. The web of life in the ocean is complex, and so exactly which ecosystems will be affected READ MORE

Can life hiding near Yellowstone National Park’s hot springs tell us about the ancient Earth? Sunlight-driven life hiding under layers of silica near Yellowstone’s hot springs may hold clues for what Earth was like billions of years ago

Yellowstone National Park is famous for its hot springs, geysers, wildlife, and incredible geology. While the area is popular among visitors every year, scientists are also excited about the hot springs at this site as they create unique habitats for READ MORE