Surprise microbes found in an Antarctic lake
By Megan Gannon, Livescience.com / September 10, 2013
Researchers have found signs of life in mud pulled from the bottom of an ice-covered lake in Antarctica.
Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey and other institutions drilled through the ice sheet to dig up clean sediment samples from the bottom of Lake Hodgson, which is on the Antarctic Peninsula and 305 feet (93 meters) deep.
In the journal Diversity, Pearce and his colleagues reported that they grew 20 cultures of microbes found in the uppermost layer of the sediment core, proving that there are viable extremophiles, or life that thrives in extreme environments, currently living in Lake Hodgson. They also found fossilized fragments of DNA from many different types of microbes that seem to have adapted to Antarctica's extremes over the eons.
Understanding how microbes and other forms of life are thriving in the cold, dark, isolated and nutrient-poor places under the frozen continent's thick ice could help researchers learn about the origins of life on Earth and the possibilities of life on other worlds, such as Jupiter's icy moon Europa. Several teams are racing to obtain pristine samples from Antarctica's nearly 380 subglacial lakes.
Read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/201...Antarctic-lake