Opposite ends of the Earth
Despite being almost 12,500 miles apart, scientists at the University of Tübingen, Germany, have discovered that the microbes living on the land areas of the Arctic and the Antarctic are largely similar. The researchers suggest that it may be that these bacteria are spread via migratory birds or by humans, but they agree that these microbes are most likely ‘generalists’ – meaning they can survive in a wide range of environmental conditions. The research also showed that there were region-specific species, with a higher abundance of them in the more isolated Antarctic. Studying patterns in where microbes thrive is important as it gives insights into how ecosystems respond to changes in the environment, such as with climate change.