A woman poses for a picture outside the Ice Cave at the Rhone Glacier in Furka, Switzerland, September 13, 2018. A team of scientists has embarked on a four-year quest to discover what beyond water the world loses when glaciers melt. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

A tourist takes a picture in the Ice Cave at the Rhone Glacier in Furka, Switzerland, September 13, 2018. By poring over microorganisms they find in glacier-fed streams, researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) hope to better understand how these creatures have adapted to their extreme environments. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Hannes Peter of the Alpine and Polar Environment Research Center (Alpole) from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) collects microorganisms from a stream to extract their DNA to better understand how they have adapted to their extreme environment, near the Rhone Glacier in Furka, Switzerland, September 13, 2018. "It's time for us to find new ways to face this unprecedented environmental change," said Tom Battin, academic director at EPFL who will coordinate the project and lead the research, speaking to reporters by the Rhone glacier now covered with reflective white sheets to help slow its melting. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Hannes Peter of the Alpine and Polar Environment Research Center (Alpole) from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) collects microorganisms from a stream to extract their DNA to better understand how they have adapted to their extreme environment, near the Rhone Glacier in Furka, Switzerland, September 13, 2018. "What is very important now in science is that we start to work across the boundaries of different disciplines. Too often and too rapidly we go from glacier loss to sea level rise. What happens in between is unknown," he said. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Tourists visit the Rhone Glacier in Furka, Switzerland, September 13, 2018. Researchers will travel to the world's largest mountain glacier systems, collecting microorganisms from hundreds of glacier-fed streams and analysing their genomes. The work will take them to streams in Alaska, the Himalayas, the Andes, Greenland, Scandinavia, Pamir, Kamchatka, Caucasus, New Zealand and the European Alps. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Tourists visit the Rhone Glacier in Furka, Switzerland, September 13, 2018. Glaciers and their streams were once abundant, but are vanishing as a result of climate change. Glaciologists predict that half of the small glaciers in Switzerland will disappear within the next 25 years. The same holds true for their glacier-fed streams and the ecosystems they support. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse