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Exploring cyanobacterial diversity in Antarctica Blog

1 Post tagged with the hypolithic tag
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Cyanobacteria are also very common in hypolithic communities that are microbial communities growing under translucent rocks such as quartz rock. These communities can be a mixture of cyanobacteria, other bacteria, green algae, protists, mosses, lichen and fungi.

It is still very little known about these hypolithic communities. As environmental conditions in Antarctica are extreme scientists believe that hypolithic habitats can provide some protection from high UV radiation and rapid fluctuation of freeze-thaw processes. The Dry Valleys are cold deserts with very limited liquid water and hypolithic rock habitats provide an increased water availability through water condensation processes on the rock surfaces.

                                                  Quartz rock

              Hypo1.jpg

                                       Below the same quartz rock    

The green spots on the bottom of the rock are cyanobacterial communities  

                   Hypo2.jpg

                             

                  Green hypolithic community growing around the bottom of a small quartz rock

                         Hypo3.jpg