Ice is melting around the world and glaciers are disappearing. Water, which has been solid for thousands and even millions of years, is being released into streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. Embedded in this new fluid water, and now being released, are ancient microbes whose effects on today's organisms and ecosystems is unknown and unpredictable. These long sleeping microbes are becoming physiologically active and may accelerate global climate change. This book explores the emergence of these microbes. The implications for terrestrial life and the life that might exist elsewhere in the universe are explored.

Key Selling Points:

  • Explores the role of long frozen ancient microbes will have when released due to global warming
  • Describes how ice preserves microbes and microbial genomes for thousands or millions of years
  • Reviews work done on permafrost microbiology
  • Identifies potential health hazards and environmental risks
  • Examines implications for the search for extraterrestrial life.

chapter 1|7 pages

Reaching Backwards

chapter 2|6 pages

Questions and Answers

chapter 3|10 pages

The Importance of Water and Ice

chapter 4|11 pages

The Diversity of Ice

chapter 5|6 pages


chapter 6|9 pages

What Is Life?

chapter 7|10 pages

Fossils: Marking Time

chapter 8|16 pages

Walking into the Past

chapter 10|17 pages

A Brief History of Research on Life in Ice

chapter 11|15 pages

Ice Core Discoveries

chapter 12|12 pages

Subglacial Lake Vostok

chapter 13|7 pages

Discoveries from Other Ice-Covered Lakes

chapter 14|13 pages

Life Is Everywhere

chapter 15|10 pages

Pathogens in the Environment: Viruses

chapter 16|11 pages

Pathogens, Hazards, and Dangers

chapter 18|12 pages

Astrobiology—Out of This World

chapter 19|15 pages

Disappearing Ice—Global Climate Change

chapter 20|8 pages