FIGURE S.1 Locations of 145 Antarctic Subglacial lakes discovered by scientists from several countries. Most of the lakes are small (less 20 km in length). Currently, Lake Vostok is the only Antarctic subglacial lake about which we have any depth information. A few larger lakes may be up to 1000 m deep. White circles show the locations of Lake Ellsworth (EM) and Lake Vostok (LV). Map inset shows distribution of radio-echo sounding flight lines. SOURCE: Modified from Siegert et al. (2005a). Reprinted with the permission of Cambridge University Press.

Currently, no clear protocols or standards for minimizing contamination have been established for subglacial aquatic environments, although general guidelines are provided in the Antarctic Treaty Protocol. Before sampling should proceed, specific protocols that ensure stewardship of the environment and the scientific integrity of the areas under study need to be developed, including sampling methods that minimize microbial and chemical contamination. It is critical to develop appropriate protocols now because planning for entry into these environments is already proceeding. Preparations for sampling Lake Vostok (Box 1.1 in Chapter 1) are well advanced; plans to explore subglacial Lake Ellsworth (Box 1.2 in Chapter 1) have been circulated through the international community; and two other subglacial aquatic environments are under consideration for exploration.

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