September 2015

  • 25 September 2015

    Antarctic life under the microscope

    Despite temperatures dropping well below -60 °C in Antarctica, micro-animals like nematodes (commonly known as roundworms), rotifers (wheel animals) and tardigrades (water bears), can survive the most extreme environmental conditions.

    These hardy and adaptable invertebrates - found in soil, ponds and lakes - are often among the first colonisers and last survivors in harsh environments.

    “These animals have been living in Antarctica, likely since before it was glaciated when it had a forest,” said Associate Professor Mark Stevens, South Australian Museum.

    “They are essentially relics of a continent that has had a huge amount of environmental change over a very long period of time.”