Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Mysterious life forms discovered in Hawaiian lava cave centuries ago

Stalactite formation in the Hawaiian cave system of this study with copper minerals and white bacterial colonies. Although copper is toxic to many organisms, these structures support microbial communities. (credit: Kenneth Ingham)

Hundreds of years ago, the volcanic process that created the Hawaiian Islands also created a network of underground tunnels and caves.

Cold, black and full of poisonous gases and metals. So, pretty much unfriendly to most life forms.

However, scientists have discovered that these volcanic vents actually contain complex and extensive microbial colonies.

These are the smallest known living things on Earth and we don’t know much about them.

In fact, an estimated 99.999 percent of all types of microbes are still unknown. As a result, some people refer to this mysterious life form as “dark matter”.

However, they still make up a substantial portion of the Earth’s biomass.

Thick Microbial Mats Hang In A Steam Vent Beneath A Rocky Ledge That Runs Along The East Fissure Region On The Hawaiian Islands.  Image Credit: Jimmy Saw
Thick microbial mats hang in a steam vent beneath a rocky ledge that runs along the East Fissure region on the Hawaiian Islands. Image (Source: Jimmy Saw)

The interest of experts in the lava caves of Hawaii is that the conditions there are as close as possible to Mars or any other distant planet.

And if microbes can survive in lava tubes that are 600-800 years old, we may find some of them on Mars at some point.

Researchers have found that ancient lava caves, which are more than 500 years old, generally contained a more diverse array of microbes.

So they believe it took a long time for these tiny creatures to settle in the volcanic basalt. As the environment changes over time, so does the social structure.

When caves are smaller and more active, microbial colonies tend to be closer to each other in terms of species.

“This brings us to the question, do extreme environments help create more interactive microbial communities, in which microorganisms are more dependent on one another?” She says microbiologist Rebecca Prescott of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“And if so, what about the harsh environment that helped create it?”

Green And Purple Biofilms And Microbial Layers Are Common At Geothermal Sites On The Hawaiian Islands, And Often Contain The Cyanobacteria Gliobacteria Sparkinsis, A Unique Group Of Cyanobacteria That Do Not Produce Light As With Thylakoids;  In Contrast, Photosynthesis Occurs Inside The Plasma Membrane.  (Credit: Stuart Donachi)
Green and purple biofilms and microbial layers are common at thermally active sites on the Hawaiian Islands. (credit: Stuart Donachi)

Although there is much we don’t know, scientists agree that competition is a strong force in harsh environments.

“Overall, this research helps to illustrate how important it is to study microbes in co-culture, rather than growing them alone[as an isolate],” Prescott said.

“In nature, microbes do not grow in isolation. Instead, they grow, live and interact with many other microorganisms in a sea of ​​chemical signals from those other microbes. This can change their gene expression, in society. may affect their work.

The results of the study have been published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

MORE : ‘SharkCanoe’: Undersea volcano eruption for mutant shark imaged by NASA satellite

Again: Lawsuit Claims Skittles ‘Unfit for Human Consumption’

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news