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Life in Hell - Survivors of Salt & Acid| 49mins
Director: Thierry Berrod | Producer: Thierry Berrod
Focus Years: 2010 | Country: France
Subject Tags: education, environment, global, science
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
In these environments, microorganisms rule. In order to thrive, certain animals have made strange adaptations. Scientists are studying how they manage to live in water as acid as vinegar or as alkaline as washing powder. Living in Lake Retba in Senegal are square extremophilic bacteria that produce a red pigment to withstand the high salt concentration. The concentration of bacteria is so high that the lake has become completely pink. In Lake Natron in Tanzania, extremophilic fish swim in ultra-saline water with a temperature close to 48 degrees Celsius. In Lake Mono in California, the edges of the lake are home to the largest population in the world of Alkali flies. To enable the species to live in this saline hell, ten times saltier than the sea, each Alkali fly is equipped with a scuba system. In Lake Owens, the amount of arsenic dust carried by the wind is comparable to the quantity of dust generated when the Twin Towers collapsed. Yet, in this diabolical lake, life goes on its merry way. In New Zealand, fly and leech larvae manage to live in fluorescent green water, as acid as our stomach juices. The list of extremophiles and their ecosystems has only just started to be drawn up. Their recent discovery has already enabled the formulation of new hypotheses about life on Earth … and perhaps elsewhere.

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