A2: Lack of oxygen not a showstopper for life

ack of oxygen not a showstopper for life April 17, 2017.
Charles Q. Choi

Summary: Scientists sampled organisms from 15 different hot pools to see how many different chemosynthetic communities are thriving in the springs. The team focused on the oxidants present in communities, and worked on nailing down what type of bacteria are in those communities. They found that microaerophiles dominated mainly planktonic communities. This information helps provide a look at what kind of life may have been present in early earth, and if this life may be possibly survive on other planets.

Connections: In class we have talked about how microbes may have lived in an anoxic environment, and how they evolved with earth’s evolving environment. Eric Collin’s lecture gave an insight on how and why microbes should be able to survive on other planets.

Critical analysis: I like this article because I find it fascinating that so much science can be going on in one of the worlds most natural wonders. People visit Yellowstone all year round just to see these hot springs, and it is so interesting to think that these pools of water can offer so much insight on our environments future and past. I find this article to be accurate because we have learned a lot about how and why archaea that can survive in harsh environments, and how that can be an insight into life on other planets.

Question: This team focused on a small amount of microbial communities and were able to come up with plenty of information. Do you think it is even possible to find, analyze, and classify all of the microbes that could be living in just one hot springs?

2 Comments for “A2: Lack of oxygen not a showstopper for life”

Rei Shibue


I agree with your analysis. Even though those hot springs are extreme environment for almost all of organisms, some can exist there. It’s really impressive. Many researchers says the origin of life is some archaea(especially thermophile) because before cyanobacteria appeared, organisms couldn’t use O2 for their metabolisms and those archaea can synthesis energy from sulfur oxide or hydrogen sulfide. Therefore, if we conduct the research like this, we can approach to the origin of life.



I also agree with your analysis, but I also think this can be tied in to the lecture we had on astrobiology. If we have microbes that can survive such harsh conditions here on earth, it means there are even more possibilities of microbes living in the harsh conditions of space.
To address the question, I doubt that we could ever classify every microbe in even a single hot spring. Considering the diversity they found in just a small community, I can imagine it would take a ridiculously long time to even attempt to classify the entire spring. In addition, microbes tend to evolve quickly. I think it could be possible that by the time you were halfway through cataloging the microbes, many would have already developed new traits and might need reclassification.