Prokaryotic life has dominated most of the evolutionary history of our planet, evolving to occupy virtually all available environmental niches. Extremophiles, especially those thriving under multiple extremes, represent a key area of research for multiple disciplines, spanning from the study of adaptations to harsh conditions, to the biogeochemical cycling of elements.
Extremophiles are organisms that can live in exceptionally harsh environments. Find out about the different types of extremophiles, their adaptations, where they live, and which one is considered to be the most resilient creature on the planet.
Earth is full of extreme environments. The poles boast temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius, the deep trenches of the oceans inflict pressures a thousand times higher than at sea level, and deep-sea hydrothermal vents belch out sulphur and carbon dioxide, heating the surrounding water up to 450 degrees Celsius.
First discovered in the inhospitable core of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor after its disastrous meltdown, radiotrophic fungi were found to not only survive, but to thrive in the high radiation environment. In this video we explore these fungi along with other radiation extremophiles such as the bacterium Deinococcus Radiodurans, and microscopic Tardigrades which can survive radiation levels which would be lethal to humans. Finally we explore what we could learn from these microorganisms and how they could even be useful to us in the future.
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Extremophiles are organisms which inhabit environments characterized by properties harsh enough to hinder the survival of common cells. They are highly diversified and are classified on the basis of the main extreme property that prevails in the habitat.
Earth is full of extreme environments. The poles boast temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius; the deep trenches of the oceans inflict pressures a thousand times higher than at sea level; and deep-sea hydrothermal vents belch out sulphur and carbon dioxide, heating the surrounding water up to 450 degrees Celsius. Despite the extreme conditions, microbes have found ways to adapt to these niche environments.