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Yellowstone National Park - Living Color

 

Location of sign - Mammoth Hot Springs area trail at Yellowstone National Park.

 

Photo taken June 2008

Living Color, Living Color road sign, Yellowstone Living Color  

Close-up view of sign

 

Living Color, Living Color road sign, Yellowstone Living Color

Wide view of sign

 

Text of sign:

 

Living Color

 

Shimmering in this hot spring is a living palette of color.  Billions of heat-loving microorganisms called "thermophiles" carpet the

spring.

 

Finding a Niche

 

As you look at the spring patchwork of colors, you are looking at a world of thermophiles.  Many species flourish here, each in a

unique niche created by subtle differences in the spring.  

 

Temperatures vary - spots too hot or tool cool for some are perfect for other thermophiles.

 

Gases, the most potent at the vent, are nutritious for some, but deadly for others.

 

Swirling water or calm pools create different living conditions.


The formation's miniature hills and valleys capture light and cast shadows - habitats for sun or shade-loving thermophiles.

 

Spirulina is just one of many thermophiles living at Mammoth Hot Springs.  When seen through a microscope, its spiral shape is 

easy to detect.  

 

Extraordinary Life

 

You are looking at billions of microorganisms living and prospering amid gases and heat - conditions that are lethal to humans.  

Some scientists study these remarkable thermophiles and their hot springs habitats to determine whether other worlds might support

life.  They are learning about the kinds of evidence to search for in their quest to find life beyond Earth.

 

This exhibit made possible by a generous grant to the Yellowstone Park Foundation from NASA Astrobiology Institute and 

Lockheed Martin Space Operations.

 

Graphics on the sign

 

In addition to the text there is a picture of the Mammoth Hot Springs and a photo of spirulina.

 

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