Deep Under Antarctica, Looking for Signs of Life

January 15, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Lichen 0049B

Deep Under Antarctica, Looking for Signs of Life

American, British, and Russian teams are all drilling to lakes deep (0.5-2 mi.) under Antarctica ice to look for signs of life in these isolated waters. Previous studies have found life in very unlikely places such as in the sulfurous vents of volcanoes in the deepest reaches of the ocean. So it is not unreasonable to expect to find some life forms under Antarctica ice. Maybe not quite as dramatic as life found in lakes deep under the ice in Antarctica, evidence of life is readily available in frigid environments such as Vermont. One of the signs that I notice every winter is the lichen on the trees near the house. Lichen is a symbiotic life form consisting of a fungal part and a photosynthetic part (either alga or cyanobacteria). The fungal part provides the structure and support and the photosynthetic part produces food. This particular lichen was on a aspen tree near the house and was photographed with a NIkkor 85mm (f20, 1/6 sec) and post processed with NX2 and Color Efex Pro4.


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