“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.” Genesis 1:24 (KJV)
“How many are your works, LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.”
Psalm 104:24 (TNIV)
Last month I attended a fascinating seminar by Dr. Brian Lanoil of the University of Alberta entitled “The Microbiologist Who Come in from the Cold: Adventures in Polar Microbiology”. He studies the microbiology of extreme environments. His investigations have led him to discoveries of mircoorganisms living in such harsh realities as subglacial systems, high Arctic tundra soils, ice cores, and sub-ice marine environments. One such example includes Lake Vostok in Antarctica, this description is taken from his website:
“Lake Vostok, buried for at least 15 million years beneath approximately 4 km of ice that has prevented any communication with the external environment for as much as 1.5 million years … Due to concerns about potential contamination of this pristine environment, samples are not available directly from the lake; however, water from the lake that has frozen on to the bottom of the ice sheet (accretion ice) is available for study. Several studies have indicated the presence of low abundance, but detectable microbial communities in the accretion ice. Our central hypothesis maintains that Lake Vostok microbes are specifically adapted to life in conditions of extreme cold, dark, and oligotrophy and that signatures of those adaptations can be observed in their genome sequences at the gene, organism, and community levels.”