life

Life found in oxygen-free depths of frozen Antarctic lake

Saturday, December 01, 2012 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: Antarctic, life, habitat

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
Irrefutable proof we are all being sprayed with poison: 571 tons of toxic lead 'chemtrailed' into America's skies every year
EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, finds 25,000 times higher mercury level than EPA limit for water
Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol
Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto
Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions
HOAX confirmed: Michelle Obama 'GMOs for children' campaign a parody of modern agricultural politics
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
Ben and Jerry's switches to non-GMO, Fair Trade ice cream ingredients
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Russia taking McDonald's to court, threatens countrywide shutdown
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women
Cannabis kicks Lyme disease to the curb
Elliot Rodger, like nearly all young killers, was taking psychiatric drugs (Xanax)
Harvard research links fluoridated water to ADHD, mental disorders
Delicious
(NaturalNews) For the first time, scientists have found life in one of the most challenging and hostile habitats ever discovered: the subfreezing depths of an Antarctic lake. The research was conducted by scientists from Nevada's Desert Research Institute and the University of Illinois-Chicago, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This study provides a window into one of the most unique ecosystems on Earth," said lead author Alison Murray.

The isolated lake, known as Lake Vida, is covered by a sheet of ice almost 20 meters (more than 60 feet) thick, meaning that no light ever reaches its depths. As a consequence, photosynthetic organisms are unable to survive and cannot provide the base of the food chain as they do in nearly every other habitat. Prior studies have established that the lake has been cut off from any outside biological or energetic influences for more than 3,000 years.

The lake is roughly six times saltier than seawater, allowing it to maintain an average year-round temperature of -13.5C (8F). On top of all this, Lake Vida has higher levels of nitrous oxide than any other natural body of water on the planet - levels that would be toxic to nearly all known organisms.

"Our knowledge of geochemical and microbial processes in lightless icy environments, especially at subzero temperatures, has been mostly [zero] up until now," Murray said. "This work expands our understanding of the types of life that can survive in these isolated, cryoecosystems and how different strategies may be used to exist in such challenging environments."

Abundant life

The researchers followed strict protocols to survey the lake for life without contaminating it with external sources. They performed all their work in secure, sterile tents atop the lake ice. They drilled into the ice and melted it to examine the chemical composition of the lake, as well as gathering water from below the ice for biological sampling. Shockingly, the researchers found not just a few organisms, but abundant life consisting of a diverse collection of bacteria species.

The researchers remain unsure how life can exist in a place without any solar energy input at all. They have hypothesized that chemical reactions are taking place between the brine and the iron-rich sediments on the lake floor, producing not just nitrous oxide but also molecular hydrogen that bacteria can use as an energy source.

"It's plausible that a life-supporting energy source exists solely from the chemical reaction between anoxic salt water and the rock," co-author Christian Fritsen said.

"If that's the case," Murray said, "this gives us an entirely new framework for thinking of how life can be supported in cryoecosystems on earth and in other icy worlds of the universe."

Many scientists study extremophiles - organisms that are able to live in extreme environments that would kill most other life on Earth - in order to gain insights into the forms that life might take elsewhere in the universe. Cold-resistant organisms are considered particularly relevant for frigid planets like Mars.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126151054.htm
http://www.naturalnews.com/008739_life_on_Mars_extremophiles.html

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.