Last updated: March 17, 2019
Topic: BusinessEnergy
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Throughout the earth, there are so many places that are so extreme that we thought that no living things could adapt to the environment. Interestingly, there are some organisms that can inhabit in extreme environments, and they are extremeophiles, which are microbes that can thrive and adapt under extreme conditions. There are many types of extreme environment, such as extremely cold or hot, too acidic, lacking of water or light, and more. One of the examples of extreme environment is Lake Vostok in Antarctica. Lake Vostok is located on the Antarctic continent below the ice, which is measured to be about 4 kilometers thick.

Lake Vostok is special and unique because it is the biggest lake in the world, and it has been isolated from the biosphere on earth. On July 21st in 1983, the temperature at the Vostok station was -89 °C, which was the coldest temperature on the earth at the time. On the other hand, the temperature of the lake water was around -3 °C. Interestingly, the lake water remains in a liquid state even though the temperature of the water was below freezing point because the high pressure from the ice above the lake which is 360 times greater than pressure in the atmosphere at sea level (Studinger).

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The pH level of the water in Lake Vostok is very low. Since the ice is enriched with hydrogen ions, the melting lake water turns to be very acidic (Bell). Under these extreme environment conditions, after many years, some certain organisms have been living and survived in these completely dark, cold, extremely acidic, and low salinity levels of water (Carsey). Furthermore, the sub-glacial system in the Lake Vostok gives the opportunity to explore the bottom of the lake.

Based on the scientific research about Lake Vostok’s seismic activity in 1996, we can assume that there might be extremely hot water flowing occurring on the floor of Lake Vostok in Antarctica (Hotz). A flowing system of super-hot water occurring on the bottom floor of the lake is a hydrothermal vent. Somehow, past earthquake event created the deep cracks on the floor of the lake, which caused the water to go inside the openings as it was heated by the molten rock, and this is how hydrothermal vent formed. As a result, the organisms in Lake Vostok favor to live under the conditions of warm water.

Because of seismic activity, there should be sediments at the bottom of the lake, which form into a hydrated gas (Bell). Organisms possibly get their energy from the sediments within the soil. The hydrated gas, such as sulfur, can turn into hydrogen sulfide gas within water, and this could be used as another energy source needed by any organisms (Thiel). According to the researchers and biologists, there were some organisms, mostly the microbes, found in the ice of Lake Vostok in Antarctica, but there was not sufficiently enough evidence and there were no further studies of the discoveries yet.

Based on the most recent discovery, the biologists found some thermophilic bacterium in the ice core of Lake Vostok (Walker). The type of this bacterium is extremeophile, an organism that lives in a very extremely hot environment, especially in temperatures from 60-80 degrees Celsius. Based on their discovery, the biologists concluded that there might be hydrothermal vents on the bottom of the Lake Vostok because “heat-loving bugs” cannot survive in a harshly cold environment of the lake since the temperature of Lake Vostok is around -2 degrees Celsius (D’Elia).

An organism that we have created is named algidophile, and it can grow, develop, and adapt to very harsh environment conditions, especially in Lake Vostok in Antarctica. Of course, algidophile is a prokaryotic organism because it can survive on its own, not only depending on some particular light and energy sources, in a very extreme environment, including Lake Vostok. Motility of a prokaryotic organism, algidophile, is very important and necessary so that it can move whenever it wants to for its survival, like moving away from toxic substances and towards optimal concentrations of nutrients.

The prokaryotic organism, which lives in Lake Vostok specifically, is chemotrophic because it gets energy from other chemical organic molecules, such as sulfur from rocks, sediments, and/or soil. For sure, it cannot be phototrophic because the organism cannot obtain the energy from the light if there is no sunlight occurring, especially in Lake Vostok in Antarctica. Since algidophile lives in the lake under the ice, it is under the category of autotroph because the organism can absorb carbon dioxide from the water or the atmosphere in the sea level.