Life on the Edge: Amazing Creatures Thriving in Extreme Environments

Life on the Edge: Amazing Creatures Thriving in Extreme Environments

by Michael Gross
     
 
Can life exist in the Antarctic ice, in the deep subsurface, in dilute sulfuric acid, in hot springs—even on Mars? What degree of high or low temperature, pressure, or salt concentration can living cells tolerate? In recent years, scientists have discovered many single-cell creatures that exist in —in fact, are perfectly adapted to—extreme environments

Overview

Can life exist in the Antarctic ice, in the deep subsurface, in dilute sulfuric acid, in hot springs—even on Mars? What degree of high or low temperature, pressure, or salt concentration can living cells tolerate? In recent years, scientists have discovered many single-cell creatures that exist in —in fact, are perfectly adapted to—extreme environments that were considered uninhabitable just one or two decades ago. In Life on the Edge, author Michael Gross explores how microorganisms adapt to their hostile environments and how they affect our current definition of the "normal" conditions for life. He also describes the vast implications of these extremophiles and other amazing creatures—from potential breakthroughs in medicine and biotechnology to the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

About the Author:
Dr. Michael Gross has studied various aspects of life under extreme conditions throughout his research career. He received his doctorate in physical biochemistry from the University of Regensburg, Germany. After seven years of research in protein biochemistry at the University of Oxford, he has recently switched to writing full time. He lives in Oxford, England, and is also the author of Travels to the Nanoworld.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Describes life on Earth not by the rules but by the exceptions to them, looking at the most hostile habitats of the our environment and their most hardened inhabitants. Analyzes survival strategies of these single-cell creatures in a way accessible to lay readers but still in touch with the latest research in areas such as heat-shock proteins and genome sequencing. Describes the significance of research on such organisms for fields including biotechnology, medicine, and research into the origin and early evolution of life, and explores the possibility of life on other planets. Includes sidebars and glossary. Originally published in German as , 1996, Spektrum Akademischer Verlag. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306457869
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/01/1998
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.27(h) x 0.88(d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Michael Gross has studied various aspects of life under extreme conditions throughout his research career. He received his doctorate in physical biochemistry from the University of Regensburg, Germany. After seven years of research in protein biochemistry at the University of Oxford, he has recently switched to writing full time. He lives in Oxford, England, and is the author also of Travels to the Nanoworld.

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