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Bacteria Can 'Breathe' Beneath Polar Glaciers

The underside of a glacier doesn't sound like the coziest of dwellings, but at least two types of bacteria call it home, a new study finds.

Chryseobacterium and Paenisporosarcina may be able to thrive at the base of glaciers in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, scientists determined through lab experiments involving specimens of both.

The finding, detailed in a recent issue of the journal Environmental Microbiology Report, could have implications for the search for life on Mars, said study researcher Corien Bakermans, a microbiologist at Penn State Altoona.

On Earth, glaciers and ice sheets constitute large ecosystems covering more than 10 percent of the surface and containing approximately 78 percent of the world's fresh water.
 
 

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