The most exotic locations where we can find tardigrades
In the previous issue we
have discussed typical places close to your home where you can expect to find
terrestric tardigrades. Further subjects were how to find the tardigrades and
how to look at them under the microscope in a non-destructive style.
We become aware (left side) that the geographic data by Evelyn
Du Bois-Reymond Marcus refer to a location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The map on the right side reveals that this location appears to be situated
about 100 km north of the Azores und about 2000 km west of Portugal,
in the middle of the Ocean.
On the other hand, Kaestner explains in his zoological
compendium that tardigrades live in water, but are definitely unable to swim!
In contrary, the water bear Coronarctus tenellus
was found in the Indian and Atlantic Ocean, in depths between 400 und 3700 m (!)
(Kinchin, p. 94).
The cosmopolitan Milnesium
tardigradum was found at the following locations by Marcus :
Spitzbergen, Novaja Semlja, Norway (northern), Lapland,
Finland, Southern-, Middle- und Northern Sweden, Southwest Sweden, Gotland, Bornholm,
Faröer, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, Scotland, Ireland, The Netherlands,
Kiel, coast of Mecklenburg, Rügen Island, near Berlin, Brandenburg,
Taunus, Southern Germany, the Black Forest, Swiss Jura, Swiss Alps (up to 4000m),
Lake Genova (up to 40 m in depth), Rhaetian Alps, Lake Lüner, Vallüla (2800m),
near Paris, Gibraltar, Lake Como, Bellagio, Bukowina, the Himalajas (6000m
(!)), Sumatra, Java, Eastern Lombok, Teneriffa, Australia, New Zealand,
Canada, Peru, Paraguay, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, the Falklands, Southern Georgia ...
Record under the ice
During the campaign Islandsis 98 the French "Glacieronaut"
Janot Lamberton established a new record when climbing down 202 meters into
a Greenland glacier. He went down to the core of the glacier via a short-lived
and extremely deep pit within the ice (a so-called "moulin") which
had been formed previously by a temporary underground river. Besides this record
allowed to get further insight into the lives of the tardigrades, small (1/10 mm long)
organisms which can survive freezing and thawing in the polar winter.
If we were able to understand the basics of this process it might used e.g. as a valuable
method for the preservation of human organs for transplantations (translation by the author).
In the next issue we will discuss tardigrade eggs some of which are really bizarre. See you ...
© Text, images, and video clips by
Martin Mach (firstname.lastname@example.org).