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Scientists Confirm Life Under Antarctic Ice 46

MikeChino writes A new paper by a group of researchers from Montana State University confirms that life can survive under antarctic ice. Researchers led by John Priscu drilled down into the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and pulled up organisms called Archaea. These organisms survive by converting methane into energy, enabling them to survive where there is no wind or sunlight, buried deep under the ice.
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Scientists Confirm Life Under Antarctic Ice

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @04:42AM (#47727119)

    What surprises me is the "the source of the ammonium and methane is most likely from the breakdown of organic matter that was deposited in the area hundreds of thousands of years ago when Antarctica was warmer and the sea inundated West Antarctica." part.
    If the methane was already readily available, why didn't the organisms multiply to use up the methane faster?
    I guess some organism breaks down the organic matter to methane and thereby limits the availability for the methane eating organism. But over the course of a hundred thousand years I feel that such a limited ecosystem should have exhausted the resources long ago.
    What is the limiting factor that prevents this?

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