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. The Astrobiology Web: Your Online Guide to the Living Universe TM
An Antarctic Photo Album, Volume 3
by Dale Andersen

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Text and Photographs ©copyright 1996 Dale T. Andersen. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with permission.

Terrestrial Lithophytic Communities - Battleship Promontory, Alatna Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys Antarctica 76° 55'S, 160°55'E

Last update: 15 January 1997

Note: click on thumbnail image to view a full screen version of an image. [Image number, size, and format] are contained to the right of each thumbnail within the caption.


[256, 47K, jpeg] Epilithic Cyanobacterial Community

The dark patch that can be seen on this sandstone boulder is the result of an epilithic cyanobacterial community colonizing the surface. There are four major lithic (rock) habitats found in the Antarctic: epilithic, the exposed surface of rocks, chasmolithic, the fissures and cracks within the rocks, cryptoendolithic, the internal airspaces within the rock between crystals and hypolithic, the underneath side of the rocks.


[257, 47K, jpeg] Close-up of the cyanobacterial community.


[262, 47K, jpeg] Dr. Imre Friedmann making a photographic record of the cryptoendolithic community colonizing the Beacon Sandstone (orthoquartzite) at Battleship Promentory.

Imre Friedmann (Dr. E. Imre Friedmann, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 3206-2043)


[263, 47K, jpeg] Dr. Imre Friedmann making a photographic record of the cryptoendolithic community colonizing the Beacon Sandstone (orthoquartzite) at Battleship Promontory.

Imre Friedmann (Dr. E. Imre Friedmann, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 3206-2043)


[264, 47K, jpeg] Biogenous Weathering

Biogenous weathering is visible on the surface of the sandstone. The lichen-dominated cryptoendolithic community contributes significantly to the weathering of the sandstone formations. Microbial activity increases the exfoliation of material from the surface of the rocks leading to the mosaic like pattern seen in this photo. A scale bar (each square is equal to 1cm) has been placed next to a section of rock that has been broken with a rock hammer, revealing the life which has colonized the interior of the rock.


[267, 47K, jpeg] Close-up of cryptoendolithic community found within the sandstone rock


[282, 47K, jpeg] Dr. Imre Friedmann, Florida State University.

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