Endolith Advanced Collection


Compiled for professionals and advanced learners, this endolith collection includes online resources such as journal articles, academic reviews, and surveys.
Small, nanometer-scale spheroidal and ovoid features were first discovered in carbonate minerals forming in hot springs. Robert Folk claims these structures are made by nannobacterial biomineralization. Photo courtesy of R. Folk's Nannobacteria Photo Gallery.
  • Crucial crises in biology: life in the deep biosphere. This review article summarizes the three turning points in time that were crucial to evolution: biopoiesis (origin of life), ecopoiesis (origin of ecosystems), and... (more info)
  • Cryptoendolith Communities in Antarctic Dry Valley Region Sandstones: Potential Analogues of Martian Life-Forms. This Lunar and Planetary Science article provides information about cryptoendolithic life (microbes living within rocks on the Earth's surface) in Antarctic sandstones. The purpose of the study was to use chemical and isotopic methods to determine what influence the cryptoendoliths have on the rocks they live in. These cryptoendoliths are predominantly lichen that live in the pores between sand grains in sandstone. The article features a color photograph of the cryptoendolith as well as an image and diagram of data. (more info)
  • Geobiology of a microbial endolithic community in the Yellowstone geothermal environment. This Letters to Nature scholarly article presents findings from a study done at Yellowstone's Norris Geyser Basin, the purpose of which was to characterize the endolithic microbial community in the hydrothermal environment. The article features photomicrographs of the endoliths, a figure depicting diversity found (based on molecular methods), as well as a references list with links to several papers. A subscription to Nature may be required to access the full text article. (more info)
  • Glass Munchers Under the Sea. This NASA Astrobiology Institute article documents recent findings of bacterial life beneath the sea floor. These newly discovered bacteria are thought to live as far down as 500 meters beneath the sea floor and eat through volcanic rock, leaving behind burrows. The article contains hyperlinks to websites explaining some key vocabulary, related websites, and color photos and maps. (more info)
  • Looking for life in all the wrong places - research on cryptoendoliths . This article highlights the professional careers of two pioneer microbiologists, Imre Friedmann and his wife Roseli Ocampo-Friedmann. A personal interview with Friedmann gives readers a first hand account of the novel thoughts and discoveries of cryptoendolithic bacteria, or bacteria living within rock. For the past 50 years these two scientists have searched for microbial and algal life among the rocks and sediments of ancient water bodies in deserts, arid polar environments, and other places on earth once thought to be void of all life. (more info)
  • Microbial Diversity of Cryptoendolithic Communities from the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica . This Applied and Environmental Microbiology abstract contains information about the diversity of Antarctic cryptoendoliths (microbes that live within rock pores), as determined by molecular studies. These studies included amplification of rRNA genes and subsequent comparison of these genes with clone libraries based on environmental DNA. The full- text article is available with a subscription or purchase. (more info)
  • Microbial Populations in Ocean Floor Basalt: Results from ODP Leg 187. This Ocean Drilling Program scholarly article describes results of a study of microbial populations in samples of basalt drilled from the north of the Australian Antarctic Discordance (AAD) during Ocean Drilling Program Leg 187. Samples were studied using deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-based methods and culturing techniques. The results showed the presence of a microbial population characteristic for the basalt environment. The article features figures of phylogenetic trees and DGGE gels. (more info)
  • New approaches to the study of Antarctic lithobiontic microorganisms and their inorganic traces, and their application in the detection of life in Martian rocks. This International Microbiology review article discusses possible ways to study cryptoendolithic (orgamisms living within pores of a rock) life in Antarctica using microscopy and how these studies may indicate biotic formation of magnetite chains found in Martian meteorite ALH84001. They propose that they have found decomposed remains of dead magnetite-forming bacteria suspended in carbonate-rich fluid, but indicate that further study is required. The article features photomicrographs of endolithic (rock-dwelling) microbes found in Antarctica. (more info)
  • Peering into the Crystal Fabric of Rocks. This Oceanus article describes the work of Greg Hirth, a geologist studying rock deformation and crystallography. It discusses how rocks deform as a function of pressure and heat (called rheology) and includes a short section about the possibility of microbial life in the heat and pressure-induced cracks between crystals. Hyperlinks to related articles are contained within the text of the article. The article also features a list of related links and color images of rocks and minerals under a microscope. (more info)

Other Endolith Collections



General Collection: General Collection Resources such as news articles, web sites, and reference pages provide a comprehensive array of information about endoliths.



For Educators: This endolith collection includes activities, assignments, and reading materials created specifically for educators.





Back to the Endolith Main Page.

Additional Resources



For additional resources about endoliths, search the Microbial Life collection.