A recent paper published in Nature Geoscience claims that we're overprotecting Mars from biological

A recent paper published in Nature Geoscience claims that we're overprotecting Mars from biological contamination. Authors Alberto Fairén and Dirk Schulze-Makuch argue that planetary protection policies should be reevaluated because they're actually preventing more ambitious plans to help us find signs of life on Mars… »11/18/13 7:20pm11/18/13 7:20pm

Bacteria and fungi living 30,000 feet above the Earth could be affecting the weather

Microorganisms have been found in virtually every corner of the Earth, from deep sea volcanoes to the tops of frozen mountains. They've also been discovered high up in the atmosphere — but scientists haven't been entirely sure as to nature and extent of these elusive high-altitude organisms. Now, new research suggests… »1/29/13 11:31am1/29/13 11:31am

Why look for life on Mars when you can make life on Mars?

Biologists who study extremophiles are dramatically expanding our sense of just how amazingly resilient microorganisms can be — insights that have serious implications in our search for extraterrestrial life. At the same time, these hardy microbes are also inspiring synthetic biologists to create their own strains of… »8/09/12 3:00pm8/09/12 3:00pm

Methane-exhaling microbes found in undersea volcanoes reset the limits of life

As unbelievable as it sounds, it's thought that up to a third of all the Earth's organisms by mass live in rocks and sediments. Suffice to say, we know excruciatingly little about the lives and ecology of these highly inaccessible creatures. But a new study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst is offering an… »8/07/12 12:45pm8/07/12 12:45pm

Check out these spectacularly beautiful images of the ocean’s smallest, weirdest creatures

Planet Magazine has published a stunning gallery of some recently discovered sea-based microorganisms. These images of the wondrously bizarre phytoplankton and zooplankton were taken by researchers aboard the Tara Oceans, a ship that only recently returned from its two-and-half-year journey. »7/10/12 3:11pm7/10/12 3:11pm

Mouse-eared rotifer poses for photomicrography prize

Floscularia ringens is king of its castle. Brick by brick, this microscopic rotifer - or "wheel animal" - builds the tube it inhabits. To make its home, the rotifer gathers organic debris from the water it lives in through a socket in its head. This detritus is formed into round, reddish pellets inside its body. Here… »11/20/11 1:35pm11/20/11 1:35pm

Watch surfers ride neon blue bioluminescent waves caused by red tide

On the beaches of Southern California, a phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum is responsible for a spate of red tide. Massive algal blooms like this make the water ruddy during the day, but disrupting the microorganisms at night results in bursts of electric blue bioluminescence. Says Scripps Institution of… »10/01/11 6:00pm10/01/11 6:00pm