Navigation Links
Back to life after 1,500 years
Date:3/17/2014

Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey and Reading University have demonstrated that, after over 1,500 years frozen in Antarctic ice, moss can come back to life and continue to grow. For the first time, this vital part of the ecosystem in both polar regions has been shown to have the ability to survive century to millennial scale ice ages. This provides exciting new insight into the survival of life on Earth.

The team, reporting in Current Biology this week, observed moss regeneration after at least 1,530 years frozen in permafrost. This is the first study to show such long-term survival in any plant; similar timescales have only been seen before in bacteria. Mosses are known to survive environmental extremes in the short-term with previous evidence confirming up to a 20 year timescale for survival. Their potential to survive much longer timescales had not previously been examined.

Mosses are an important part of the biology of both polar regions. They are the dominant plants over large areas and are a major storer of fixed carbon, especially in the north.

Co-author Professor Peter Convey from the British Antarctic Survey explains:

"What mosses do in the ecosystem is far more important than we would generally realise when we look at a moss on a wall here for instance. Understanding what controls their growth and distribution, particularly in a fast-changing part of the world such as the Antarctic Peninsula region, is therefore of much wider significance."

The team took cores of moss from deep in a frozen moss bank in the Antarctic. This moss would already have been at least decades old when it was first frozen. They sliced the frozen moss cores very carefully, keeping them free from contamination, and placed them in an incubator at a normal growth temperature and light level. After only a few weeks, the moss began to grow. Using carbon dating, the team identified the moss to be at least 1,530 years of age, and possibly even older, at the depth where the new growth was seen.

According to Professor Convey:

"This experiment shows that multi-cellular organisms, plants in this case, can survive over far longer timescales than previously thought. These mosses, a key part of the ecosystem, could survive century to millennial periods of ice advance, such as the Little Ice Age in Europe.

"If they can survive in this way, then recolonisation following an ice age, once the ice retreats, would be a lot easier than migrating trans-oceanic distances from warmer regions. It also maintains diversity in an area that would otherwise be wiped clean of life by the ice advance.

"Although it would be a big jump from the current finding, this does raise the possibility of complex life forms surviving even longer periods once encased in permafrost or ice."


'/>"/>

Contact: Paul Seagrove
psea@bas.ac.uk
44-012-232-21414
British Antarctic Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Turings theory of morphogenesis validated 60 years after his death
2. After death, twin brains show similar patterns of neuropathologic changes
3. Almost 200 new species of parasitoid wasps named after local parataxonomists in Costa Rica
4. Dartmouth study shows US Southwest irrigation system facing decline after 4 centuries
5. UTMB study examines hospital readmission rates after inpatient rehabilitation
6. Permanent changes in brain genes may not be so permanent after all
7. Exposures to some phthalates fall after federal ban
8. After a 49-million-year hiatus, a cockroach reappears in North America
9. ADC evaluation for the changes of infarction core and remote regions after MCAO
10. Mass spectrometer detection of 10 protein spots after acute high-altitude HBI
11. A magnetic nanoparticles-based method for DNA extraction from the saliva after stroke
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 23, 2016 ... kombiniert im Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und ... Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ... heute bekannt, dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro ... insbesondere aus der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... , March 18, 2016 --> ... of Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and ... security companies in the border security market and the continuing ... and Europe has led visiongain to ... improved success. --> defence & security companies ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... -- NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a ... airing of a new series of commercials on Time Warner ... st .  The commercials will air on Bloomberg TV, Fox ... Street show. --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the ... announces the airing of a new series of commercials on ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... WOODLANDS, Texas , May 3, 2016  Dr. ... certified plastic surgeon in The Woodlands, Texas ... that destroys 24 percent of treated fat cells in ... and woman. Close to 90 percent of Americans report ... treatment options. Nonsurgical fat reduction procedures are a growing ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... in mind, the fresh look and added functionality give the agricultural world a ... seen a dynamic shift in agriculture – from precision farming via satellites and ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Proove ... excited to announce the launch of the Proove Health Foundation . The ... education to promote the use of personalized medicine for tackling the nation’s most-pressing ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Summit for Stem Cell ... the development of a patient-specific stem cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. ... Dr. Jeanne Loring at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, CA. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: