Ecology of Psychrophiles: Subglacial and Permafrost Environments

Reference work entry


A significant portion of the Earth’s biosphere is found in perennially cold environments (less than 5°C) including the deep ocean, frozen soils, terrestrial glaciers, perennially ice-covered lakes, and polar sea ice and ice sheets (Priscu and Christner 2004). Approximately 20% of Earth’s surface is currently ice-covered with the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets covering ~10% of the terrestrial land surface. This ice stores ~75% of the Earth’s freshwater supply (Paterson 1998). The Antarctic ice sheets, which contain ~90% of the planet’s ice, would result in a sea level rise of ~70 m if it melted ( Approximately 20% of world’s soil ecosystems are frozen ground (permafrost). Ice is a dynamic feature on our planet and a key regulator of the global climate system; how cold systems will respond to a warming world is of fundamental concern. The awareness that icy systems harbor cold-loving microorganisms raises new questions about climatic feedbacks...


Permafrost Environment Subglacial Lake Subglacial Environment Permafrost Sediment Subglacial Water 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill A. Mikucki
    • 1
  • S. K. Han
    • 2
  • Brian D. Lanoil
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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