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Press Release 07-084

Innovative Research Technique Reveals Another Natural Wonder in Yellowstone Park: A Unique, Photosynthesizing Life-Form

Novel bacterium lives in colorful microbial mats within hot springs

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Illustration of a unique bacterium discovered in Yellowstone hot springs.

An artist's representation of a unique species of chlorophyll-producing bacterium that was discovered in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. The green shapes in the cell, called "chlorosomes," house the machinery to convert sunlight into energy.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation


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Photo of a woman standing near a hot spring with trees in background

Amaya M. Garcia Costas, a graduate student at Penn State and a member of the team that discovered the new bacterium, stands next to colorful microbial mats in Octopus Spring in Yellowstone National Park.

Credit: David Strong, Penn State University.


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Researchers Don Bryant of Penn State University and David Ward of Montana State University join Matt Kane of the National Science Foundation on July 26 to discuss the unique lifeform they recently discovered in some of the hotsprings at Yellowstone National Park and explain why the discovery is so important. Lily Whiteman, also of NSF, is the moderator.

Credit: National Science Foundation