Our planet is full of natural wonders; infact, life existing and evolving to extreme levels, is in itself the biggest wonder. While various species of plants, animals and microorganisms dwells in normal Earth conditions within a specific range of temperature and environmental conditions, still there exist many other living organisms that can survive and even multiply in extreme conditions.
In this post I’ll cover the organisms which can subsist at high temperatures at which normal life forms can never survive. These extreme organisms are known by the name as ‘Thermophile’ enduring in temperatures of about 60ºC to a high of 300ºC (wow, isn’t it weird and exciting!). So, let’s learn about 10 of such species that can live at high temperatures.
10 Species That Can Live At High Temperatures
Tardigrades, also called Water Bears, are eight legged micro-organisms dwelling almost everywhere in moisture. They feed on plant cells, algae and small invertebrates. According to Ben Guarino (2017), an astrophysicist, Tardigrades are the most resilient and hardy earthly organism that can survive in any kind of extreme conditions, from below freezing point to volcanic vents and even vacuum and radiations of space. They are only 0.05mm long with a normal lifespan of 4 months to 2 years. According to Emma Brennand, under dormancy (adverse extreme conditions), these organisms can even live upto 30 years.
Strain 121 – Geogemma barossii
The microorganism got its name as for the fact that it can survive autoclaving (laboratory process to kill any microorganism) which is done at 121ºC. Moreover, the microbe has its best growth at 103ºC. It was isolated from hydrothermal vents and thrives in iron and sulphur rich environment. It is almost 1 micrometer in diameter with long flagellates protruding out of its one end.
Thermus aquaticus bacteria
The bacteria can dwell at higher temperatures upto 80ºC and was first isolated from hot springs in California. The bacteria are chemotrophs. They are used in PCR technology for fingerprinting as a DNA or RNA polymerase.
The Paralvinella Worm is a water dwelling annelid. According to a research conducted by Bates et al, in 2013, these worms live at around 80ºC temperatures and can survive upto 300ºC. They are 1.5 cm long with ciliated outer bodies and mucus tubes. They are found in hydrothermal vents in most of the Pacific region upto a depth of 2000 m. Interestingly, they can also survive in anoxic or oxygen deficient waters. Most of the times, they obtain their nutrition from a symbiotic bacteria dwelling upon their ciliated bodies.
Pompeii Worm – Alvinella pompejana
The Pompeii worms are one of the most heat tolerant organisms on Earth (according to Daniel and Lucein,1980). They are found in hydrothermal vents of marine volcanoes. They can grow upto 13 cm and have red gills located on their heads. The survival technique of the worm is weird and mysterious; they keep their head in relatively cooler waters and tail remains exposed to the high temperatures. Also, symbiotic bacteria live on its back which is a source of most its nutrition.
Devil Worm – Halicephalobus mephisto
The Devil Worm derives its name from its weird presence deep inside the earth crust at high temperatures where normally no other animal could survive. This 0.5 mm long nematode, was first isolated by a nematologist Gaekan Borgonie from a South African gold mine from water that remained isolated in the crust for around 4000 years. According to the International Institute for Species Exploration, the worm can not only survive high temperatures but can also withstand high pressures.
The bacteria was isolated from a hydrothermal vent named Black Smoker in Mid- Atlantic ridge. According to Huber et al, in 2006, the bacteria can survive upto temperature of 113ºC. The bacteria are irregularly shaped with an average length of 0.7 to 2.5 micrometer. They are chemolithoautotroph and are being used in animal feed additives.
The cynobacteria dwell in fresh hot water springs at a temperature range of 60-75ºC. The microscopic bacteria are unicellular and 0.8 to 1.5 micrometer long. They were discovered by Albert Frankel in 1950 from a pond in Massachusetts. They are photosynthetic which means they derive their nutrition from sunlight, so they live in well lit water layers.
Pyrococcus is a unicellular Archaean and is 0.8 to 1.5 micrometer long. It has a flagellated end and a glycoprotein cell wall which makes it tough and resistible to high temperatures. Their normal growth is entertained at 100ºC temperatures and can even normally survive upto 103ºC. Moreover they are adapted to live in acidic as well as basic environments. The DNA extracted from the microbe is used in PCR and are now researched to be bio-engineered into plant cells which would help the plant to delay ageing and cell death.
The bacteria are obligate thermophiles and can live in a temperature range of 65 to 72ºC. Thermus thermophilus bacteria were isolated from a thermal vent in a hot spring from Japan and are now known to be found around almost every hot spring. They can even survive in low oxygen levels. They are able to do so because of their peptidoglycan protein structure, that provides them more protection and stability from outside extreme environments. Because of their stable structures even at high temperatures, they are being utilised as DNA polymerase in PCR.
So, this was my list of 10 Species that can live at High Temperatures. I hope you liked the information. If you like it, then give it thumbs up! Do Share the information with others too.