Lake Vostok life to be studied

January 15, 2007

U.S. researchers say they will analyze microorganisms from a vast Antarctic lake to determine how life adapts to extremely harsh environments.

University of California-Riverside Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences Brian Lanoil is leading the project that will investigate life found in Lake Vostok, the world's seventh largest lake -- a Great Lakes-size body of fresh water trapped under a 2 1/2-mile-thick polar ice sheet.

The goal is to reconstruct the genomes of the microorganisms that live in the lake to determine how they have been able to withstand bitter cold, total darkness, low nutrients and high oxygen levels during evolutionary and geologically significant lengths of time.

The lake is estimated to have been buried under ice for at least 15 million years and is thought to have been isolated from the external environment during the last 1.5 million years.

Lanoil will work with Craig Cary at the University of Delaware and Philip Hugenholtz at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They will compare their results with a similar study conducted by Sergei Bulat at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Melting ice is forcing polar bears to swim more, at high energy cost

Related Stories

Turning to beet juice and beer to address road salt danger

January 29, 2018

Looking to strike a balance between ice-free roads and clean waterways, public works departments around the country are working to cut their salt use in winter by slathering the roadways with beet juice, molasses, and even ...

On unconscious bias in science

January 29, 2018

Science is never truly objective. Charles Darwin and his failed theory on the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy can provide an excellent role model, writes Jaboury Ghazoul.

Life could be likelier on icy planets than rocky ones

December 4, 2017

In the hunt for extra-terrestrial life, scientists tend to take what is known as the "low-hanging fruit approach." This consists of looking for conditions similar to what we experience here on Earth, which include at oxygen, ...

Recommended for you

Lyman-alpha emission detected around quasar J1605-0112

February 20, 2018

Using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument astronomers have discovered an extended and broad Lyman-alpha emission in the form of a nebula around the quasar J1605-0112. The finding is reported February 9 ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.