Scientists collected them 10 years ago from up to 75 meters below the seafloor and almost 6,000 meters below the ocean's surface, during an expedition to the South Pacific Gyre.
The soil the microbes were being trapped in was taken from a 2010 expedition to the South Pacific Gyre, a seemingly lifeless zone in the centre of swirling ocean currents to the east of Australia, recognised as a single of the most foods-constrained and everyday living-deficient elements of the ocean (and a trash vortex, with all the plastic pollution it gathers at the surface area). Small life forms such as microbes become trapped in this sediment.
As reported by Gizmodo, an global team of scientists led by geomicrobiologist Yuki Morono from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology revived these microbes that are actually from 101.5 million years ago. "But what we found was that the life-extending into the depths of the ocean from the seafloor to the basement rock underlying".
"We knew that there was life in deep sediment near the continents where there's a lot of buried organic matter", said URI Graduate School of Oceanography professor and co-author of the studySteven D'Hondt. When sediment builds up quickly, the pressure pushes out any oxygen that might otherwise linger between the grains to keep aerobic microbes alive.
After incubation by the scientists, the microbes started to consume and increase.
With the newly developed ability to grow, manipulate and characterize ancient microorganisms, the research team is looking forward to applying a similar approach to other questions about the geological past.
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