Hi there, I’m Maddie Stone. Thanks for checking out my blog The Lonely Spore! This blog covers newsworthy microorganisms from the far corners of the Earth (and occasionally outer space), with a focus on extreme environments and unusual life strategies. I’m a microbial ecologist, science fiction writer, video game enthusiast, plant and cat lover.
Follow me on twitter @themadstone or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have some awesome microbe news you’d like me to feature? Just ask!
Love science with a speculative slant? Check out my other blog, The Science of Fiction.
What’s a spore, anyway?
What does hibernation make you think of? Furry animals slumbering peacefully away in a hole somewhere? Well, it turns out cute mammals aren’t the first ones to hibernate- not by a long shot. Bacteria have been hibernating in a different way for billions of years. They become spores. Spore-becoming, or “sporulation”, is a life-changing process. When bacteria become spores, they cease nearly all metabolic activity, entering a state of indefinite preservation. Spores can survive for hundreds, perhaps thousands or even millions of years, without water or food. They hold up under high heat, drought, acid and intense radiation. Not a surprise, then, that spores are found in some of the most extreme environments on Earth, from deep beneath the ocean floor to thermal hot springs to the high atmosphere. Spores may even represent life’s best chance surviving in the most extreme environment of all: outer space.