The Hardiest Microbes on Earth

  • Will Gater
Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)


When looking carefully at the world around us, we see, on the surface, an incredible wealth and diversity of life. Even in our most crowded cities, nature makes its mark. Even if you personally cannot see the many kinds of living creatures at work, there is a good chance that they are there – synthesizing, respiring, and reproducing. It may be the unwelcome weed that slowly works its way through the cracks in your garden patio, to make its home there, or an exotic species, such as the wonderful flowering plants found in some particularly dry deserts and arid valleys of North America. These intriguing plants remain beneath the parched desert soil for many weeks, even months, biding their time waiting for that brief rain shower so that they can burst up in a brief flash of life and vibrant energy.


Microbial Life Rain Shower Martian Soil Average Global Surface Temperature Crowded City 
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.



  1. McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research (LTER).
  2. Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. “SHINKAI 6500.”

Scientific papers

  1. D. A. Gilichinsky et al. “Microbial populations in Antarctic permafrost: biodiversity, state, age, and implication for astrobiology.” Astrobiology 7(2) (2007): 275–311ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. N. S. Panikov et al. “Microbial activity in soils frozen to below −39°C.” Soil Biology & Biochemistry 38 (2006): 785–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Li-Hung Lin et al. “Long-term sustainability of a high-energy, low-diversity crustal biome.” Science 314 (2006): 479–482ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Myron T. La Duc et al. “Microbial diversity of Indian Ocean hydrothermal vent plumes: microbes tolerant of desiccation, peroxide exposure, and ultraviolet and gamma-irradiation.” Astrobiology 7(2) (2007): 416–431ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Will Gater
    • 1
  1. 1.DevonUK

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