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Nematodes Live in the Great Salt Lake, But Also Other Things

Scientists’ curiosities bring everyday surprises from Salt Lake’s newest discovery of live nematodes to a volcano on Mars. Before this discovery at Salt Lake, only salt brine shrimps and brine flies resided. This discovery shows the continued diversification of what seemed to be a stable environment.

Michael Warner, an assistant professor of biological science, and an expert on nematodes at the University of Utah had to go out often due to the pandemic. Eventually, he took to hiking. He hiked at Antelope Island, in the Great Salt Lake where only salt brine shrimp and brine flies live. Then, the scientist and a group found a new resident, a kind of nematode. Many thought that only brine shrimp and brine flies lived in the Great Salt Lake as its residents, and that the salty water could only sustain such creatures.

According to, nematodes, known as roundworms, are one of the world’s most abundant animal classifications. At least 250,000 nematode species live from the deep ocean to the lakes.

After a few years of focused research, he and other University of Utah researchers confirmed that Nematodes live in the Great Salt Lake with brine shrimp and brine flies.

Werner also brought his hypothesis to his students. Julie Jung, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah School of Biological Sciences and the study’s lead author, remembers being sold right away when Werner approached her about the project. Jung found a roundworm at the Lake and presented it to the world proving the Nematodes live in the most saline water-bodied lake.

What we know is that discoveries change our understanding of the world every day, asking us to become curious and be surprised at what life on Earth brings. How long has the nematode survived at Salt Lake? What does it feed upon? And where does it stand on the Salt Lake food chain? So much to discover, and it has only just begun.

Coree ILBO copyright © 2013-2024, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission.

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