The GV team has completed sampling from two extreme dry environments on earth – The Atacama Dessert in Chile and Death Valley National Park in California. Both areas receive extremely low amounts of rainfall throughout the year, which forces plants, animals and microbes to adapt to the xeric conditions in interesting ways. The team hopes to identify novel biochemistry in microbes through the analysis of soil samples obtained from the two regions. And yes, the surface does look like that of Mars!
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Many thanks to our collaborator Dr. Armando Azua-Bustos for guiding the GV team during sample collection.

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