The microorganisms that came out of Subglacial Lake Whillans were “incredibly diverse,” and the microbial cells came in a variety of shapes. The yellow arrow in this image points to a rod-shaped cell as seen through a scanning electron microscope. .
Montana State University/WISSARD
By TIME Video
August 21, 2014

A subglacial lake 800 meters beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet has been discovered to contain “viable microbial ecosystems,” according to the National Science Foundation, which funded the project. The findings are the result of a 2013 drilling expedition in which researchers used a sterile, hot water drill to reach and collect samples from Lake Whillans, in the west part of the continent.

Researchers for project Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) found organisms that feed off of rocks for energy and use Carbon Dioxide as a carbon source in water and sediment samples from the lake.

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