Prologue: Definition, Categories, Distribution, Origin and Evolution, Pioneering Studies, and Emerging Fields of Extremophiles

  • Koki Horikoshi
  • Alan T. Bull

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

Isaac Newton

What are Extremophiles?

Extremophiles are organisms that are adapted to grow optimally at or near to the extreme ranges of environmental variables. Most extremophiles are microorganisms that thrive under conditions that, from a human perspective, are clearly hostile. RD MacElroy first coined the term “extremophile” in a 1974 paper entitled “Some comments on the evolution of extremophiles,” but definitions of extreme and extremophileare of course anthropocentric; from the point of view of the organism per se, its environment is that to which it is adapted and thence is completely normal. A much larger diversity of organisms are known that can tolerate extreme conditions and grow, but not...


Extreme Environment High Hydrostatic Pressure Black Smoker Prokaryotic Organism Deep Well Drilling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)YokosukaJapan
  2. 2.School of BiosciencesUniversity of KentCanterburyKentUK

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