By the end of the 19th century British and French oceanographic expeditions had shown that life exists in the deepest ocean trenches. Since then, microorganisms have been found to thrive in diverse environments characterized by a wide range of pressure-temperature-composition (P-T-X) conditions (Rothschild and Mancinelli 2001). The range of physicochemical conditions under which microbial life has been observed has continued to expand with greater access to extreme environments and greatly improved tools for sampling and assessing the diversity and physiology of microbial communities. This exploration now includes examination of subseafloor and...

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