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Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier Soehl KnKade, 2009 Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier California glaciers are normally overshadowed by the Arctic and Antarctic regions because they are relatively insignificant to the total glacial mass of the world (Basagic, 2008; NSIDC, 2009). However, California’s glaciers have the same environmental impact as all

glaciers on factors such as freshwater mass (Wikipedia, 2009). These glaciers are receding, following the world’s general trend (American Geological Institute, 2009; NSIDC, 2009). It is important that microbiologists study the impact of glacial recession and the life initiating from the area, because as lands are uncovered from the ice, new environments and habitats become available to microorganisms, and the microorganisms may be novel depending on their


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier evolutionary characteristics (Christner et al, 2008). Glaciers cover 10% of the world’s surface area (NSIDC, 2009) and therefore the cumulative area exposed for microbial growth will have an immense impact on the world’s environment (Thaindian News, 2008). For California, glaciers cover about 35 km2 (Bsagic, 2008). Many of the glaciers, such as the Palisades, are much more accessible than polar regions and greatly untouched natural environments for relatively undisturbed research (Burd, 2007).

Proposed is the land slowly being uncovered by the receding Middle Palisade Glacier, a region of the California Sierra Nevada range located at 37.0710448 decimal degrees latitude and -118.4645479 decimal degrees longitude that has a 30o slope at an elevation of 3787 meters (USGS, 2009). The summer temperature has had a range from minus 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (Stine, 1996), but recent analysis indicates a change of up to +20 C up until recently, including an


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier increase of ‘wet’ precipitation (Bowerman & Clark, 2008). The glacier area is around 0.20 km2 and sits in the Middle Palisade basin (Bsagic, 2008). The runoff from the area goes down a


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier fluvial creek and fills a few small aquifers, including Finger Lake (Burd, 2007). Detailed chemical analysis was not readily available for Middle Palisade Glacier, but a nearly mirroring


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier proxy analysis 3 miles northwest of it (Guyton, 2001) among the North Palisade Glacier surface, its crevasse surface (Figure 5), and its fluvial runoff (Figure 3) performed by Eathan McIntyre (2007) in the month of September 2005, found these minute yet significantly naturally occurring substances (>0.50 Îźg/L; sans air and water): acetone, benzene, lead, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver, thallium, vanadium, zinc.


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier As the Middle Palisade Glacier recedes and decreases in size, land previously covered by it allows fresh environments for microorganisms (AMO, 2009; Thaindian News, August 2008; Thaindian News, September 2008). In particular, psychrophilic organisms are likely to be nascent to the immediate glacial location, as described by Christner et al (2008). Organismal diversity should increase the further one observes from the glacier crevasse due to greater temperature variants and therefore greater rates of interaction with resources, such as fluvial water. In the Peruvian Andes, cyanobacteria have been observed to populate previously glaciated soils even before plants, lichens, or mosses. Nitrogen fixation was also observed to dramatically increase in the area, stimulating the framework for nitrogen cycling, soil development, and plant communities (Schmidt et al, 2008). These observations will likely be mimicked in the Middle Palisade, but minute resource availability (McIntyre, 2007) and undetectable organic matter (from pictures) will likely produce results autochthonous to the area of California. However, since there is sunshine, air, and water available, a large range of microorganisms should eventually populate the uncovered land, resulting in both autotrophic and heterotrophic diversity. Single-celled organisms are likely to populate first, and then multicellular organisms will blossom as biomass becomes more available. Methodology for site study will include terrain resource archiving, climate and terrain characteristic analysis, and microbial culturing. It will be performed longitudinally in a time frame allowable, accommodating seasons and weather variants. The terrain resources will be sampled at two by three times rate per location, with a light swipe of the ground from a sterile brush, with a surfically spooned sample from the same brushed site, and then of 5-10 cm deep from the piercing tip of an aeration device. Each vertical sample will be done twice in virtually immediate locations to each other, but in which the secondary sampling does not disrupt the


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier primary aeration or overlap brushings to ensure virgin sampling. The tandem samplings will be done in several distinguishing distant locations possible, likely several meters apart and of obvious glacial retreat area designated by weatherings (Bowerman & Clark, 2008), determined when site analysis begins. Climate and terrain characteristics will be measured with temperature, humidity, and photographic devices, amongst others, to be determined depending on viability and necessity. Culturing and library will be produced thrice minimum from all of one of the samples done in tandem. Culturing will be performed in conjunction with variant climate attributes artificially set to determine nascent outcomes particular to the climate settings. Library will also include radiological isotopology and comparison to culture libraries after increments no less than one month of growth. The sister samples will be used for various substance analyses archiving and texture descriptives. Beyond just knowing what the nascent result of glacial recession will be, practical use of the data should be administrable. Therefore, the microbial life and interactions will be observed from an astrobiological perspective to help determine outcomes in the case Earth’s general temperature continues to increase and the outcomes of manmade interactions with celestial bodies in order to facilitate their possible survival there and cohesion, albeit symbioses, to situated ecosystems. Astrobiological research has grown in universal appeal due to increasing awareness of what life may be outside earth’s biosphere and for the case of interplanetary research and travel. An option to physically studying other planets is to study like or similar environments already available on Earth since it is relatively much more expensive and difficult to proceed research of the same value on the other planets or celestial bodies. Earth’s ecologically unique, nascent characteristics differentiate from other immediate bodies of the solar system, such as Mars, in the


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier basic physical determinants temperature or photic value, pressure or gravity, and substance composition. Other celestial attributes such as orbit and mass most definitely differentiate nascent abilities, but research encompassing all possible ecological attributes will likely have more error than gradual accumulation of it with less variables to culminate in best case future research scenarios that will eventually encompass all attributes. As well, technological advancements for missions to other celestial bodies can develop in tandem with research of the similar environments on Earth since, for example, current space travel and analysis equipment continue to advance to evermore ideal forms as expressed by theorists Kurzweil (2001) and Kardashev (1985). So, it is of the highest practicality for now to select regions of Earth—such as the Middle Palisade Glacial region—to study the natural simulation of other planets’ environments of interest in order to receive the most thorough results and greatest accumulation of substantial research to the benefit of all life.


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier References Alpine Microbial Observatory., 2009. American Geological Institute., 2009. Bowerman, N. D. & Clark, D. H. 2008. 11,000 Years of Glacier Change, Palisade Glacier, Sierra Nevada. White Mountain Research Station Symposium #5: Climate, Ecosystems and Resources in Eastern California. Bishop, California. Bsagic, H. J. 2008. Quantifying Twentieth Century Glacier Change in the Sierra Nevada, California. Portland State University, Department of Geography. Burd, B., 2007. Christner, B. C. et al 2008. Bacteria in Subglacial Environments. Pp. 51-71 in: R. Margesin et al, eds., Psychrophiles: From Biodiversity to Biotechnology. SpringerVerlag Berlin Heidelberg. Guyton, B. 2001. Glaciers of California: Modern Glaciers, Ice Age Glaciers, the Origin of Yosemite Valley, and a Glacier Tour in the Sierra Nevada. University of California Press, Berkley. Kardashev, N. S. 1985. On the inevitability and the possible structures of supercivilizations, Pp 497-504 in: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life: Recent Developments; Proceedings of the Symposium. D. Reidel Publishing, Dordrecht. Kurzweil, R., 2001. McIntyre, E. 2007. Water Quality Analysis of the North Palisade Glacier Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. Department of Geological Sciences, Cal Poly Pomona University.


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder., 2009. National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder., 2009. Schmidt, S. K. et al 2008. The earliest stages of ecosystem succession in high-elevation (5000 metres above sea level), recently deglaciated soils. Proceedings of The Royal Society B 275, 2793-2802. Stine, S. 1996. Climate, 1650-1850. Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, California State University Hayward. Pp 25-30 in: Sierra Nevada Project: Final report to Congress, vol II, Assessments and scientific basis for management options. Centers for Water and Wildland Resources, University of California, Davis. Thaindian News. moves-in-assoon-as-glacier-ice-retreats-inmountains_10093838.html#ixzz0ZK01jdkg, September 2008. Thaindian News. bacteria-move-in-to-boost-soil-efficiency_10089627.html, August 2008. United States Geological Survey, Department of the Interior. P3_FID:228609, 2009. Wikipedia; The Encyclopedia., 2009.


Microbial Succession in Middle Palisade Glacier