Arctic Microbiology

The Arctic is a place that captures the imagination of many fortunate travellers year in year out. People choose to go to the Arctic for the breathtaking natural beauty, stunning natural wildlife and the splendid isolation the region can offer.  However, there are a group of people who go to the Arctic for an entirely different reason, the study of microorganisms.

arctic microorganisms bacteria microbiology

Photo courtesy of AJC1(CC ShareALike)

The study of microorganisms or microbiology as it is better known,  is prevalent in the Arctic due to the extensive range of microorganisms that flourish in the region. Each year hundreds of experts led by university researchers travel to the polar seas to further our understanding of the microorganisms that inhabit the region.

This raises the question, why is the study of these tiny life forms so essential?

Well, whilst the study of the habits shown by polar bears and whales has obvious appeal, you could argue the study of microorganisms (known scientifically as psychrophiles) is far more important to our species. This is because the hostile conditions in the Arctic are as close to the harsh conditions present across the solar system. Therefore, developing a greater understanding of how life exists in the region could eventually help us provide answers to the likelihood of life existing on distant planets where water is believed to be present. 

As well as allowing us to achieve a greater understanding of the universe, Arctic microbiology also allows us to enjoy a greater understanding of evolution. As microorganisms have evolved and adapted to the cold climates of the Arctic, they are effectively binded to the region. This is because it would be impossible for them to migrate to a similar region such as Antarctica as they simply couldn’t survive the migration across the warmer regions. This means that microbiologists can study differences between Arctic and Antarctic microorganisms and then explore what could possibly have caused these genetic variations have occurred.

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So, as you can see, although tiny in stature, the microorganisms of the Arctic and the study they invoke play a huge part in human understanding of not just our planet but of the whole universe.

For more information about the scientific research that takes place in the Arctic regions, call our knowledgeable team on 0800 678 5237

Remember, all our staff are frequent visitors to the Arctic and well qualified to answer any questions you may have about visiting the region.

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