Saturday, April 16, 2011

Extremo-Caturday (Extremophile Pt. 1)

So we figured out what was wrong with our internet. Our router died, it would turn on, lights blink for like a minute and then die. So we had to go get a new router. And now I am back to blogging.

It is yet another Caturday, so what better time to go through some of the crazy lifeforms that exist on Earth. These extreme lifeforms are known as extremophiles, because they thrive in places that we may consider adverse conditions for life. They live in places that are extremely hot, cold, acidic, salty, radioactive, dark, dry, or have high pressures.

Astrobiologists like to study these organisms because most places in the Universe seem to be adverse to life, and if these little critters can make it, then it gives hope that life may actually be abundant. It also lends support to the Rare Earth Hypothesis, where higher animals with intelligence are an extremely rare form of life but simple life is abundant.

So here are some of the stars extremophiles (most information comes from NASA's Night Sky Network):




Rocky Lichen (Cryptoendoliths): Found inside rocks everywhere, from the sandstone rocks of the Antarctic dry valley region to the depths of human drilling, even 4 miles (7 km) under the ocean floor! These guys like cold temperatures and don't mind freezing, they also like the dark insides of rocks were they feed on minerals. But they can also withstand high temperatures and pressures deep under the Earth's surface.


Pompeii Worm (Alvinella pompejana): Found in "black smokers," very hot volcanic vents at the bottoms of the ocean. One of the largest extremophiles at 4 inches (10 cm) long, it can withstand high pressures and sulfuric environments. It like's to be both very hot and very cold, the tail can be boiling in a vent while the head is in cooler waters.


Snottites: AKA Slimy Stalactites. These colonies of single-celled bacteria hang from the walls and ceilings of toxic caves and are similar to stalactites, but have the consistency of mucus (snot). Most famously known to live in sulfur caves in Tabasco, Mexico; these guys like the dark and get their energy from sulfur (not the Sun!). They also enjoy acidic environments and dripping water, but it makes these guys dangerous, one drop of the highly acidic bacteria has been known to eat through clothes and cause third-degree burns on researchers.


Strain 121 (Geogemma barossii): Found at the bottom of the ocean in volcanic vents, and in volcanoes around the world, it earns its name for its love of very hot water. It can withstand water temperatures up to 121° C (250° F) and eats iron for breakfast. Keep in mind that the boiling point for water is 100° C and prior to its 2003 discovery, it was thought a fifteen-minute exposure to these temperatures would kill all living organisms.


Watermelon Snow (Chlamydomonas nivalis): AKA Snow Algae. Found in high, cold places on every continent. It enjoys the high altitudes and very cold environments, along with sunlight that helps to melt the snow into water that the algae can use. Apparently the algae actually does smell like fresh watermelon too! And before it was discovered, mountain climbers thought it was a mineral that caused the reddish color.


Reyn (Felis Snorus): AKA The Snoring Cat. Found on the couch surrounded by a fortress of pillows. Seriously, who thought a cat could snore. We aren't talking about a little snore here either, it's loud, like he might have sleep apnea or something.

OK, I got through about half of the ones I have for you. I am going to have to split this post, so see the next half tomorrow! This actually works out because I still don't have any pictures with my camera for you guys yet. This rain has been brutal, and the one night (Thursday) that I did have a chance to go out, the Moon was blocked by a tree and I wasn't having much luck with anything else. So hopefully I'll have pics as soon as the weather clears, those darn April showers.


14 comments:

hwidman said...

lol at last extremophile

Zombie said...

Dang stupid internets acting up like that! lol.

Jay said...

that last one is truly the most adaptable species. :D

Salman Ashraf said...

Wow, these are definitely piquing my interesting. Very extraordinary stuff! Loved the pictures too.

Thank you for sharing, and do keep 'em coming!

Grafted said...

Love the last one, lol

Matt said...

Glad the internet mystery has been solved; good luck with being able to use your new camera sometime soon! Also, my dogs snore all the time, so I can totally see a cat doing so.

Erika said...

Rocky Litchen looks creepy =s

But I love that last one! Cute! ^_^

mac-and-me said...

the more you know

Melanie said...

My brain feels a little bit more used now. Thank you!

Robert said...

lol, my cat is able to snore too. I somethimes wake him up or put him in another place in the house because it kind of irritates me.

Lost.in.Idaho said...

I loved the cat pic. Reminded me of the old roadrunner cartoons (coyoteus hungrius).

And is it just me, or does that lichen look like yummy yummy cake?

Jack said...

Interesting stuff, and loved the last one!

Great blog btw, following (:

http://livintrip.blogspot.com/

ScottD said...

cool cat is cool

kgp318 said...

Awww...Reyn...you forgot that he is slightly frightening too...

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