Species Comings and Goings

Ancient Microbes; Wolves in Idaho; Birds Going Extinct;

Microbes in Ancient Ice Could Explain How Life Adapts to Harsh Environments
From a UC Riverside Press Release:

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside and the University of Delaware have thawed ice estimated to be perhaps a million years old or more from above Lake Vostok, an ancient lake that lies hidden more than two miles beneath the frozen surface of Antarctica.

Currently, the research team, led by UC Riverside’s Brian Lanoil, an assistant professor of environmental sciences, is examining the eons-old water for microorganisms. Using novel genomic techniques, the team is trying to determine how the tiny, living “time capsules” survived the ages in total darkness, in freezing cold and without food and energy from the sun.

The research, which is part of the International Polar Year, is designed to provide insight into how organisms adapted to live in extreme environments. It also gives the researchers access to the genetics of organisms isolated for possibly as long as 15 million years.

“This lake may have been isolated for that long – 15 million years,” said Lanoil, the principal investigator of the research project. “After nearly a year of preparation and verifying protocols, we are now ready to process the samples, and will examine the DNA of these microorganisms to understand how they survived in such an extreme environment.”

The ice segments were cut from an 11,866-foot ice core drilled in 1998 through a joint effort involving the United States, Russia, and France. The core was taken from approximately two miles below the surface of Antarctica and 656 feet (200 meters) above the surface of Lake Vostok, and has since been stored at -35 degrees Celsius at the National Ice Core Laboratory, Denver, Colo.

Domestic Wolf Brings Headaches in Idaho

Domestic Wolf Brings Headaches in Idaho from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — Law enforcement officers in southwestern Idaho have been told by federal wildlife managers not to shoot a domesticated wolf that’s been killing and maiming livestock for a month, for fear they might mistakenly kill one of the roughly 800 federally protected wild wolves that roam the state.


53 Bird Species Face Extinction in S.C.

53 Bird Species Face Extinction in S.C. from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — Nearly 30 percent of the nation’s most threatened birds species can be found in South Carolina, according to a conservation report released Wednesday.