Organic Lake

Organic Lake is a lake in the Vestfold Hills in eastern Antarctica. It was formed 6,000 years ago when sea levels were higher; it is isolated, rather shallow 7.5 metres (25 ft), meromictic, a few hundred meters in diameter and has extremely salty water. It has the highest recorded concentration of dimethyl sulfide in any natural body of water.[1][2]

Organic Lake
Location of the lake in Antarctica.
Location of the lake in Antarctica.
Organic Lake
Coordinates68°27′23″S 78°11′23.5″E / 68.45639°S 78.189861°E / -68.45639; 78.189861Coordinates: 68°27′23″S 78°11′23.5″E / 68.45639°S 78.189861°E / -68.45639; 78.189861
TypeMeromictic lake
Average depth7.5 metres (25 ft)

In 2011, a new species of virophage (a satellite virus that impairs the ability of its co-infective host virus to replicate) was discovered in Organic Lake, the Organic Lake virophage. It is a parasite of 'Organic Lake phycodnavirus',[1] a large virus that infects algae and belongs to the nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDV), but in fact may rather be a member of an extended family Mimiviridae (aka Megaviridae) than of the family Phycodnaviridae.[3][4][5][6]


  1. ^ a b "'Virus-eater' discovered in Antarctic lake". Nature News. 28 March 2011.
  2. ^ Franzmann, PD; PP Deprez; HR Burton & J van den Hoff (1987-01-01). "Limnology of Organic Lake, Antarctica, a meromictic lake that contains high concentrations of dimethyl sulfide". Marine and Freshwater Research. 38 (3): 409–417. doi:10.1071/MF9870409.
  3. ^ Koonin, Eugene V.; Krupovic, Mart & Yutin, Natalya (April 2015). "Evolution of double-stranded DNA viruses of eukaryotes: from bacteriophages to transposons to giant viruses". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1341 (1): 10–24. doi:10.1111/nyas.12728. PMC 4405056. PMID 25727355. (Figure 3)
  4. ^ Maruyama, Fumito & Ueki, Shoko (30 November 2016). "Evolution and phylogeny of large DNA viruses, Mimiviridae and Phycodnaviridae including newly characterized Heterosigma akashiwo virus". Frontiers in Microbiology. 7: 1942. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.01942. PMC 5127864. PMID 27965659.
  5. ^ Zhang, Weijia; Zhou, Jinglie; Liu, Taigang; Yu, Yongxin; Pan, Yingjie; Yan, Shuling & Wang, Yongjie (13 October 2015). "Four novel algal virus genomes discovered from Yellowstone Lake metagenomes". Scientific Reports. 5 (1): 15131. doi:10.1038/srep15131. PMC 4602308. PMID 26459929.
  6. ^ Schulz, Frederik; Yutin, Natalya; Ivanova, Natalia N.; Ortega, Davi R.; Lee, Tae Kwon; Vierheilig, Julia; Daims, Holger; Horn, Matthias; Wagner, Michael; Jensen, Grant J.; Kyrpides, Nikos C.; Koonin, Eugene V. & Woyke, Tanja (6 April 2017). "Giant viruses with an expanded complement of translation system components". Science. 356 (6333): 82–85. doi:10.1126/science.aal4657. PMID 28386012. (especially Fig. 2)