Excited for Extremophiles
The world we consider “normal” constitutes the places in which we can survive. We consider all other worlds-ones that are small, hot, cold etc.-to be unusual as practically no life can live there. However, there are some life forms that can survive in what we would consider hostile environments. Us ordinary humans call these organisms “extremophiles.” These extremophiles are for the most part bacteria and archaeans. Extremophiles are further broken down into more specific groups:
Acidophiles enjoy areas with pH 3 or lower, or extremely acidic places.
Alkaliphiles prefer to live in habitats with pH 9 or higher, in other words, very basic areas.
Facultative Anaerobes are capable of surviving in places with or without the presence of oxygen.
Obligate Anaerobes can only live in the absence of oxygen and die upon contact with oxygen.
Endoliths can live in infinitesimal spaces in rocks and also in fissures, aquifers, and faults with groundwater.
Halophiles require areas with a concentration of 0.2M of NaCl to survive.
Thermophiles thrive in temperatures of 45-122 degrees Celsius, but those living in temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius are generally referred to as a Hyperthermophile. Some thermophiles, known as Thermoacidophiles, tend to like habitats with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Celsius and with pH levels between 2 and 3.
Hypoliths live under rocks in cold deserts.
Lithoautotrophs use carbon dioxide and energy-giving (exergonic) inorganic oxidations.
Metallotolerants are capable of surviving in highly concentrated solutions of metals like Copper, Cadmium, Arsenic and Zinc.
Oligotrophs can survive in habitats with low nutrition.
Osmophiles thrive in environments with high concentrations of sugar.
Piezophiles prefer environments with high hydrostatic pressure such as deep terrestrial subsurface and the bottom of oceanic trenches.
Psychrophiles can either survive, reproduce or grow in areas with temperatures below -15 degrees Celsius.
Radioresistants can withstand high levels of ionizing radiation, usually either ultraviolet or nuclear radiation.
Xerophiles thrive in very arid environments.
|Thermophiles Color the waters of the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park|