Great Lake’s Sinkholes Host Ecosystem

Date: 2/6/2009

A research team from Grand Valley State University and NOAA are exploring extreme conditions for life in a place not known for extremes. As little as 20 metres below the surface of Lake Huron (North America’s Great Lakes) sinkholes made by water dissolving parts of an ancient underlying seabed harbour bizarre ecosystems where the fish typical of the huge freshwater lake are rarely seen. Also seen were purple mats of cyanobacteria – cousins of microbes found at the bottom of permanently ice-covered lakes in Antarctica – and pallid, floating columns of other microbial life thrive in the dense, salty water that is hostile to most familiar, larger forms of life because it lacks oxygen.

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