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Proceedings Paper

Comparison of the microbial diversity and abundance between the freshwater land-locked lakes of Schirmacher Oasis, and the perennially ice-covered Lake Untersee in East Antarctica
Author(s): Jonathan P. Huang; Richard B. Hoover; Ashit Swain; Chris Murdock; Dale T. Andersen; Asim K. Bej
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Paper Abstract

Extreme conditions such as low temperature, dryness, and constant UV-radiation in terrestrial Antarctica are limiting factors to the survival of microbial populations. The objective of this study was to investigate the microbial diversity and enumeration between the open water lakes of Schirmacher Oasis and the permanently ice-covered Lake Untersee. The lakes in Schirmacher Oasis possessed an abundant and diverse group of microorganisms compared to Lake Untersee. Furthermore, the microbial diversity between two lakes in Schirmacher Oasis (Lake L27C and L47) was compared by culture-based molecular approach. It was determined that L27C had a richer microbial diversity representing 4 different phyla and 7 different genera. In contrast L47 consisted of 3 different phyla and 6 different genera. The difference in microbial community could be due to the wide range of pH between L27C (pH 9.1) and L47 (pH 5.7). Most of the microbes isolated from these lakes consisted of adaptive biological pigmentation. Characterization of the microbial community found in the freshwater lakes of East Antarctica is important because it gives a further glimpse into the adaptation and survival strategies found in extreme conditions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 September 2010
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7819, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIII, 78190W (7 September 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.863131
Show Author Affiliations
Jonathan P. Huang, The Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (United States)
Richard B. Hoover, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
National Space Science and Technology Ctr. (United States)
Ashit Swain, Geological Survey of India (India)
Chris Murdock, Jacksonville State Univ. (United States)
Dale T. Andersen, SETI Institute (United States)
Asim K. Bej, The Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7819:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIII
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul C. W. Davies, Editor(s)

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