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How organisms make inhospitable places their homes

Some organisms dare to dwell in the planet’s most extreme environments. From alkaline to acidic, from hypersaline to hypoxic, there are life forms that exist and perpetuate in inhospitable niches. In a newly published book, the challenges that certain habitats present to their inhabitants are studied, and unifying themes compared and contrasted, while the adaptations necessary to survive are debated.

The book, Life at Extremes – Environments, Organisms and Strategies for Survival, details the challenges that higher-level plants and animals, microorganisms and viruses face in places like sub-glacial lakes, hot deserts and terrestrial hydrothermal environments. Divided into 27 chapters, each one dealing with a different environment, the authors look at the ecological, biological and biogeochemical factors that make that environment extreme and consider the organisms that manage to survive there. Dr David Hughes of SAMS contributed the chapter on The Deep Sea.

Edited by microbial ecologist and polar specialist Elanor M Bell and produced while working at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, the book is aimed at researchers and students of life sciences and ecology but with numerous colour figures and photos it is much more than a text book.

For more information, contact Communications officer Cathy Winterton by email or on 01631 559 342

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