April 16, 2009
Ancient ecosystem found in Antarctica
U.S.-led scientists have found that an ecosystem below an Antarctic glacier has survived millions of years by using sulfur and iron compounds for growth.
Co-led by Montana State University Professor John Priscu and Jill Mikucki of Dartmouth College, the scientists said the ecosystem lives without light or oxygen in a pool of brine trapped below Taylor Glacier, next to frozen Lake Bonney in eastern Antarctica.
Mikucki said the ecosystem has the
potential to be a modern analog to what geochemistry and biogeochemistry was like millions of years ago.
The study that included Peter Lee of the Hollings Marine Laboratory; Ann Pearson, David Johnston and Daniel Schrag of Harvard University; Alexandra Turchyn from Britain's Cambridge University; James Farquhar from the University of Maryland; and Ariel Anbar of Arizona State University appears in the journal Science.