Life at the Limits

Organisms in extreme environments

Cambridge

Life at the Limits

Organisms in extreme environments

We are fascinated by the seemingly impossible places in which organisms can live. There are frogs that can freeze solid, worms that dry out and bacteria that survive temperatures over 100 °C. These organisms have an extreme biology, which involves many aspects of their physiology, ecology and evolution. In this captivating account, the reader is taken on a tour of extreme environments, and shown the remarkable abilities of organisms to survive a range of extreme conditions, such as high and low temperatures and desiccation. This book considers how organisms survive major stresses, and what extreme organisms can tell us about the origin of life and the possibilities of extraterrestrial life.

david wharton is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago, New Zealand, where his research has centred on the extraordinary survival abilities of animals. His interest in extreme environments has been stimulated by visits to the Antarctic, and by a year spent at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, as a Royal Society Guest Research Fellow. In 1997, his contribution to science was recognised by the award of Doctor of Science, by the University of Bristol.

He is also an expert in the use of light and electron microscopy in natural history filmmaking, and was a principal instigator of the Diploma in Natural History Filmmaking and Communication at the University of Otago, in partnership with Natural History New Zealand.

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