Common Extremophiles


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This is very much a work in progress! I also want to add images of the microscopic organisms (from Micro*scope) and characteristics of their respective habitats as well as video clips from 'extremophile hunters.'

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Common Extremophiles

  1. 1. The Diversity of Life Extremophiles Biology I Jennifer Hood
  2. 2. What do the following places have in common?
  3. 3. What do the following places have in common?
  4. 4. What do the following places have in common?
  5. 5. What do the following places have in common?
  6. 6. They are full of life! (Only you can’t see it!)
  7. 7. Three Domains of Life
  8. 8. Now… a little bit of reading… • Students will be handed copies of the April 1997 article in Scientific American titled “Extremophiles” by Michael T. Madigan and Barry L. Marrs • Upon reading the article, students will be asked to focus on the questions on the following slides. • Answers will be discussed but, at the moment, they are placed on the slides.
  9. 9. What is an extremophile? • Organisms that thrive under conditions that, from a human point of view, are clearly extreme. Often, these organisms can not survive or reproduce unless in these punishing habitats.
  10. 10. T/F: Scientists have known about extremophiles for hundreds of years. • False- some extremophiles have been known for only about forty years. More extreme ones have just recently been discovered. • As technology improves, so does our ability to find these organisms and study them.
  11. 11. What is meant by the term ‘extremozymes’? What do they do? • Enzymes within extremophiles that remain active when other normal enzymes would typically fail. (can tolerate a greater range of temperature, salinity, pressure, etc.) • They speed up chemical reactions without being consumed themselves & can make major contributions to industry, biomedical research, etc.
  12. 12. T/F: Life is currently categorized into two domains- Bacteria and Eukarya. • False- there is a third domain- Archaea. • Mainly consists of extremophiles. • Considered the most ancient domain. • Organisms adapted to the conditions of early Earth (extreme temps, little oxygen, increased methane, etc.)
  13. 13. How are archaeans similar to bacteria? How are they different? Similarities: - No nucleus - Similar in anatomy- simple Differences: - Shares genes with eukarya - Have genes unique to archaea
  14. 14. These ‘extremists’ were first discovered in places like this hot spring Grand Prismatic – Mid-Geyser Basin - Yellowstone National Park
  15. 15. Let’s get to know Earth’s most common extremophiles! Your challenge: From the illustrations on each slide, try to determine what type of extreme environment is occupied by a particular extreme organism. Can you provide examples or organisms and/or locations?
  16. 16. thermophiles
  17. 17. hyperthermophiles
  18. 18. acidophiles
  19. 19. alkaliphiles
  20. 20. Xerophiles
  21. 21. barophiles
  22. 22. anaerobes
  23. 23. halophiles
  24. 24. radiodurans
  25. 25. toxicotolerant
  26. 26. psychrophiles
  27. 27. Discussion Question • Why are extremophiles important?
  28. 28. How are humans affecting these extreme environments?
  29. 29. Reflection Questions • Why is life in extreme places important? - Why is diversity of life important? - Could we survive without extremophiles? - How would we be affected if they were to become extinct? - How can the study of extremophiles help us understand life on other planets? - Who do you consider the extremophiles? Us or them? (Remember- they were here first!) - Will human influence, over time, turn Earth into an extreme environment? Why or why not? • Will it help us find/understand life on other planets?
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