SAN FRANCISCO—Researchers have made a genetic analysis of the microbes living deep inside a deposit of Marcellus Shale at a hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” site, and uncovered some surprises.Read the rest of the story here.
They expected to find many tough microbes suited to extreme environments, such as those that derive from archaea, a domain of single-celled species sometimes found in high-salt environments, volcanoes, or hot springs. Instead, they found very few genetic biomarkers for archaea, and many more for species that derive from bacteria. They also found that the populations of microbes changed dramatically over a short period of time, as some species perished during the fracking operation and others became more abundant. One—an as-yet-unidentified bacterium—actually prospered, and eventually made up 90% of the microbial population in fluids taken from the fracked well.
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