Arctic vs Antarctic lake microbes: new research reveals unique evolutionary tales

High Arctic (left) and Continental Antarctic (right) lake bottoms, covered by de
High Arctic (left) and Continental Antarctic (right) lake bottoms, covered by dense microbial mats. Credits: David Velazquez (image left), Sakae Kudoh (image right)

High Arctic (left) and Continental Antarctic (right) lake bottoms, covered by dense microbial mats. Credits: David Velazquez

An international research team of scientists led by biologists from Ghent University investigated the biodiversity and evolutionary history of microorganisms in Arctic, sub-Antarctic and Antarctic lakes in the first large scale study using DNA.

The polar regions are characterized by extreme living conditions such as very low temperatures and low availability of water and nutrients. Lakes in this harsh environment are oases of biodiversity and productivity, where life is dominated by microscopic organisms. ...

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