Ecosystem processes in the dry valleys of Antarctica
Antarctica, and in particular the dry valleys region of continental Antarctica, represent that most environmentally harsh and probably most biologically-isolated terrestrial environment on the Earth.
For this reason, the dry valleys have been regarded as an analogue for some of the perceived environmentally harsh environments that organisms may encounter extraterrestrially. As the Earth's driest and most enduring desert (as a result of climatic influence of the polar ice dome), the dry valleys have been used as a source of, and laboratory for, investigating organisms with adaptations to extreme environments. However, in recent years increasing attention has been directed to understanding the ecological processes and ecosystem functioning in the dry valleys. Despite being dominated by microorganisms and operating in an extreme environment, the dry valley ecosystems operate in much less extreme ways than might have been imagined - the adaptations are extreme but the processes are not!
Tea and coffee will be served following the seminar.
The astrobiology seminar series is run by the UK Centre for Astrobiology based in the School of Physics & Astronomy. Astrobiology is a multi-disciplinary subject and the seminar series actively encourages attendance by undergraduates, postgraduates and academic staff from other departments..