Extremophile Fishes: An Integrative Synthesis

  • Michael Tobler
  • Rüdiger Riesch
  • Martin Plath


Extremophile fishes have emerged as veritable models for investigations in integrative biology. They not only provide insights into biochemical, physiological, and developmental processes that govern life, but also allow for the elucidation of life’s capacities and limitations to adapt to extreme environmental conditions. Over the past decades, researchers have made substantial progress towards understanding mechanisms underlying adaptation to extreme conditions mediated through a wide variety of physicochemical stressors. This chapter reviews some of the common themes and approaches used in the investigation of extremophiles and highlights several of the major open questions in this field: (1) Why do fish colonize extreme environments? (2) How can we gain an understanding of the mechanistic links between genomes and fitness of extremophiles in their natural environment? (3) How common is convergent evolution in extreme environments? (4) How do physicochemical stressors shape macroevolutionary processes? (5) How does acknowledging environmental and organismal complexity change our knowledge of evolution in extreme environments? Finally, (6) how can we make basic research on extremophiles applicable to solving major scientific challenges of our time and the coming decades?


Extreme Environment Adaptive Radiation Stressful Environmental Condition Extreme Habitat Phenotypic Modification 
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.



Z. Culumber and G. Hopper kindly provided comments on an earlier manuscript draft. We would like to thank all the contributing authors without whom this book would not have been possible. Our thanks are also extended to the numerous scientists who agreed to serve as external reviewers for the contributed chapters. Funding for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation (IOS-1121832) and Kansas State University (to MT) and the “1000 talents program” of the People’s Republic of China (to MP).


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of BiologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.School of Biological Sciences, Centre for Ecology, Evolution and BehaviourRoyal Holloway University of LondonEghamUK
  3. 3.Sino-German Animal Research CenterCollege of Animal Science and Technology, Northwest A&F UniversityYanglingPR China

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