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
BACK INTO THE CLOSET: Why U.S. reporters are not allowed to write about rainbow events in nations where being gay is still condemned
Depopulation test run? 75% of children who received vaccines in Mexican town now dead or hospitalized
A family destroyed: Six-month-old dies after clinic injects baby with 13 vaccines at once without mother's informed consent
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
U2's Bono partners with Monsanto to destroy African agriculture with GMOs
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
BAM! Chipotle goes 100% non-GMO; flatly rejecting the biotech industry and its toxic food ingredients
ECONOMIC SLAVERY FOR ALL: While we were distracted with the Confederate flag flap, Congress quietly forfeited our entire economic future via fast-track trade authority
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
March Against Monsanto explodes globally... World citizens stage massive protests across 38 countries, 428 cities... mainstream media pretends it never happened
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
600 strains of an aerosolized thought control vaccine already tested on humans; deployed via air, food and water
Italian court rules mercury and aluminum in vaccines cause autism: US media continues total blackout of medical truth
The 21 curious questions we're never allowed to ask about vaccines
Vicious attack on Dr. Oz actually waged by biotech mafia; plot to destroy Oz launched after episode on glyphosate toxicity went viral
Orthorexia Nervosa - New mental disorder aimed at people who insist on eating a clean diet
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 -13.5°C (8°F). 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.