A sample of the liverwort Cephaloziella varians was collected on 1 January 1999 at Rothera Point on the Wright Peninsula, Adelaide Island, western Antarctic Peninsula and was partially dried and then frozen at −80°C. The sample was rapidly defrosted to c. 10°C after six years and two months of storage at this temperature. Nematodes, tardigrades and a bdelloid rotifer present in the sample were found to have survived. Of the 159 nematodes recovered from the sample, 49 (31%) were alive: of the tardigrades and rotifers, two of 15 (13%) and one of 48 (2%) had survived, respectively. A Chi-square test showed that there was a significant association between nematode taxon and survival: a greater proportion of Coomansus gerlachei individuals were alive than of Rhyssocolpus paradoxus. A Chi-square test also showed that there was a significant association between phylum and survival: a significantly greater proportion of nematodes or tardigrades were alive than of bdelloid rotifers. We conclude that Antarctic soil metazoans are capable of surviving long-term exposure to low sub-zero temperatures and that there may be taxon-specific effects of freezing on survival.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2006
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CryoLetters is a bimonthly international journal for low temperature sciences, including cryobiology, cryopreservation or vitrification of cells and tissues, chemical and physical aspects of freezing and drying, and studies involving ecology of cold environments, and cold adaptation
The journal publishes original research reports, authoritative reviews, technical developments and commissioned book reviews of studies of the effects produced by low temperatures on a wide variety of scientific and technical processes, or those involving low temperature techniques in the investigation of physical, chemical, biological and ecological problems.