Frozen in Time: The Permafrost Microbiome – Professor Rachel Mackelprang, California State University, Northridge
Deep within the permafrost, viable microbial communities persist, buried for millennia. With the permafrost rapidly thawing due to global warming, these microbes are becoming more active, feeding on previously frozen organic matter and ‘breathing’ out greenhouse gases, further exacerbating climate change. Professor Rachel Mackelprang of California State University is studying the significance of these little-understood microbes. Funded by NASA, her team is also investigating how these hardy microbes adapt and survive as an analogue of how extra-terrestrial life may survive in sub-zero space environments.