Chapter

Microbes in Extreme Environments

Dawn Cardace and Tori M. Hoehler

in Serpentine

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268357
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948457 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520268357.003.0002
Microbes in Extreme Environments

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Delineating the boundaries of the biosphere is an area of exciting research, integrating work in biology, geology, and chemistry. Of particular interest is how microorganisms adapt to survive under stress (e.g., extreme acidity or alkalinity, temperature fluctuations, changing activity of water) and persist as communities, perhaps over geologically meaningful time scales. Considering how terrestrial environments support and/or challenge microbial life in Earth's most extreme settings also fuels scientific investigation as we recognize habitable zones in our solar system and around stars other than our own Sun. This chapter discusses how serpentinizing systems serve as habitat for extremophile microbes (those inhabiting the high pH, Ca2+-rich waters circulating in serpentine bodies) and may provide novel ground for scientific investigation into extremophile evolution.

Keywords: serpentinizing systems; habitats; extremophile microbes; evolution; microorganisms

Chapter.  8199 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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