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Title: Astrobiology of life on Earth
Authors: Hallsworth, J. E.
Mancinelli, R. L.
Conley, C. A.
Dallas, T. D.
Rinaldi, T.
Davila, A. F.
Benison, K. C.
Rapoport, A.
Cavalazzi, B.
Selbmann, L.
Changela, H.
Westall, F.
Yakimov, M. M.
Amils, R.
Madigan, M. T.
Issue Date: 5-Apr-2021
Publisher: Society for Applied Microbiology
DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.15499
Published version:
Citation: Environmental Microbiology 23(7): 3335-3344(2021)
Abstract: Astrobiology is mistakenly regarded by some as a field confined to studies of life beyond Earth. Here, we consider life on Earth through an astrobiological lens. Whereas classical studies of microbiology historically focused on various anthropocentric sub-fields (such as fermented foods or commensals and pathogens of crop plants, livestock and humans), addressing key biological questions via astrobiological approaches can further our understanding of all life on Earth. We highlight potential implications of this approach through the articles in this Environmental Microbiology special issue ‘Ecophysiology of Extremophiles’. They report on the microbiology of places/processes including low-temperature environments and chemically diverse saline- and hypersaline habitats; aspects of sulphur metabolism in hypersaline lakes, dysoxic marine waters, and thermal acidic springs; biology of extremophile viruses; the survival of terrestrial extremophiles on the surface of Mars; biological soils crusts and rock-associated microbes of deserts; subsurface and deep biosphere, including a salticle formed within Triassic halite; and interactions of microbes with igneous and sedimentary rocks. These studies, some of which we highlight here, contribute to our understanding of the spatiotemporal reach of Earth'sfunctional biosphere, and the tenacity of terrestrial life. Their findings will help set the stage for future work focused on the constraints for life, and how organisms adapt and evolve to circumvent these constraints.
E-ISSN: 1462-2920
ISSN: 1462-2912
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