The exploration of Antarctic subglacial lakes
Since the first descriptions of Antarctic subglacial lakes there has been a growing interest and awareness of the possibility that life will exist and potentially thrive in these unique and little known environments. The unusual combination of selection pressures and isolation from the rest of the biosphere, might have lead to novel adaptations and physiology not seen before, or indeed to the potential discovery of relic populations that may have become extinct elsewhere. As a result of significant and growing interest, three ambitious projects aimed to enter and retrieve samples from deep continental Antarctic subglacial lakes over the 2012/2013 Antarctic field season. Here we discuss what happened, what new knowledge might be gained from their exploration and why we go to such lengths to understand them.
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..