The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica represent one of the most extreme environments on Earth. Temperatures might rise a little above 0°C for a few months during the summer 24-hour daylight period, but water is always scarce. In winter, when the sun never rises for three months, soil temperatures can plummet to −60°C. It is perhaps surprising that anything can survive these conditions, but research by our team at the University of Pretoria’s Centre
for Microbial Ecology and Genomics has shown that a wide diversity of soil microorganisms thrives here.
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