Trista Vick-Majors, assistant professor of Biological Sciences at MTU, said: “There is water and there is life under the ice.
“These can teach us a lot about our planet because this is a great place to look at somewhat simplified ecosystems, without higher levels of organisms.
“So we can answer questions about life that can be really hard to answer in other places.”
The Whillans Subglacial Lake is surprisingly abundant in organic carbon, which is an important source of food for microbes living under Antarctica.
Because sunlight does not reach the subterranean lakes, organisms cannot rely on photosynthesis for energy in the same way oceanic critters as phytoplankton do.