Great Lake's Sinkholes Host Exotic Ecosystems Akin To Iced-over Antarctic Lakes

Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 05:22 in Earth & Climate

Sinkholes penetrating the bottom one of North America's Great Lakes -- Lake Huron -- unexpectedly harbor exotic ecosystems akin to those in permanently iced-over Antarctic lakes and deep-sea, hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. As little as 20 meters (66 feet) below the surface of Lake Huron, the third largest of North America's Great Lakes, peculiar geological formations--sinkholes made by water dissolving parts of an ancient underlying seabed--harbor bizarre ecosystems where the fish typical of the huge freshwater lake are rarely to be seen. Instead, brilliant purple mats of cyanobacteria--cousins of microbes found at the bottoms of permanently ice-covered lakes in Antarctica--and pallid, floating pony-tails of other microbial life thrive in the dense, salty water that's hostile to most familiar, larger forms of life because it lacks oxygen.

Read the whole article on Science Daily

More from Science Daily

Latest Science Newsletter

Get the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!

Check out our next project, Biology.Net