LENCINA Agustina InÉs
capítulos de libros
Andean Microbial Ecosystems: Traces in Hypersaline Lakes About Life Origin
SAONA, LUIS ALBERTO; SORIA, MARIANA NOELIA; VILLAFAÑE, PATRICIO GUILLERMO; LENCINA, AGUSTINA INÉS; STEPANENKO, TATIANA MARIEL ; FARÍAS, MARÍA EUGENIA
Astrobiology and Cuatro Ciénegas Basin as an Analog of Early Earth
Lugar: Cham; Año: 2020; p. 167 - 181
High-altitude Andean lakes (HAALs) represent unique environments on the Earth where one can study the biological chemistry of life in one of its most extreme versions. The Atacama Desert, Argentine Puna, and Bolivian Altiplano harbor hypersaline lakes where polyextremophilic Andean Microbial Ecosystems (AMEs) inhabit microbial mats, evaporitic mats, biofilms (BF), evaporites (EV), and microbialites (Mi). These AMEs have two remarkable characteristics: (i) they are the only ones in the world that inhabit areas ranging from 3100 to 4200 masl; and (ii) they are excellent modern analogues of those which populated the primitive Earth ~3 billion years ago. In this chapter, we will delve into the different kinds of AMEs present in the HAAL, their formation, structure, and their adaptation to conditions largely influenced by volcanic activity, UV radiation, arsenic content, high salinity, low dissolved oxygen content, extreme daily temperature fluctuation, and oligotrophic conditions. All of these physicochemical parameters recreate the early Earth and even extraterrestrial conditions. The relevance of studying these ecosystems does not lie only in scientific-descriptive and/or economic interest. The scientific research community has a great responsibility to address climate change. In this scenario, the AMEs could have played a key role, influencing changes that allowed the origin of aerobic life and those who have faced the great climatic events of the Earth.