Floating, or epichelphic, lakes were previously common in the Arctic, but are rare now. Their main feature is that they have no bottom, it’s reported with reference to Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Due to the different density, a layer of fresh water in such lakes rests over a layer of salt. From above the lake is covered with ice, which prevents the layers from mixing. Scientists drilled ice and found megaviricetes family viruses in water samples. Viruses hit microscopic algae on the border between salted and fresh water.
It was previously believed that viruses are of tiny size and carry only a few genes. But scientists find more and more viruses – the size of a bacterium and different genomes. Researchers plan to continue studying viruses in the Arctic, but due to global warming, the floating lakes disappear.
Earlier it became known that global warming activates viruses in the Arctic, giant sponges’ traces were found on the underwater volcanoes of the Arctic ocean, and the brown bear first settled among the polar relatives on Wrangel island.
Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko