About this Research Topic
A major goal in microbial ecology is to identify the limits of life for growth and survival, and to understand the molecular mechanisms that define these limits. As a result, interest in the biodiversity and ecology of extreme environments has grown in recent years. Exploration of the biosphere has led to continued discoveries of life in environments that were previously considered uninhabitable. We now know that life can survive and sometimes thrive under what seems to be harsh environmental conditions. Extreme environments, usually defined from our anthropocentric view, generally possess various factors incompatible with most life forms. However, despite the apparent hostility of such habitats, they often support a surprising level of species richness.
When we think of extremophiles, bacteria and archaea first come to mind. However, eukaryotic microbial life is also found actively growing in almost any extreme condition where there is a source of energy to sustain it, with the only exception of high temperature (>70ºC) and possibly the deep subsurface biosphere. Recent studies based on molecular ecology have demonstrated that eukaryotic organisms are as adaptable as bacteria and archaea, although most habitats have not been sufficiently sampled to date. Molecular analyses have continued to reveal novel protist genetic diversity in different extreme environments.
Papers (research papers, reviews, perspectives, opinion papers) are welcome that focus on all aspects of eukaryotic communities (i.e., microalgae, protozoa, fungi) in extreme environmental ecosystems from all geographic regions. Welcomed topics are microbial ecology, physiology, biodiversity, genomics, transcriptomics and proteomic studies, as well as possible biotechnological applications.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.