What is it about?

ThermoBase was created in order to simplify and jumpstart the study of thermophiles, or heat-loving organisms. These are microbes that live in seemingly inhospitable environments such as boiling hot springs or deep sea vents. This database is the first of its kind: a web-based and freely available spreadsheet which currently houses comprehensive descriptions for all known heat-loving organisms. Users are able to filter and sort over 23 characteristics from optimal living conditions to metabolism in order to generate new research questions and new hypotheses.

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Why is it important?

Thermophiles, or heat-loving organisms, are an important field of study for several reasons. Not only can their heat tolerance be used in industrial processes, but these qualities also offer insight into the most extreme environments which can support life. This information is useful as improved telescopes discover new worlds which could possibly harbor living organisms. In addition, it is hypothesized that life first began in extremely hot environments. Therefore, the study of these present-day microbes can serve as a window into the past and possibly the earliest forms of life. ThermoBase is the first complete database of all known thermophiles with information on their optimal living conditions, metabolism, and more which will streamline research on these organisms.


I am an astrobiologist which means I aim to investigate the overlap between the study of life and the study of space. For favorite part of ThermoBase is its application to this field. As technology improves, astronomists can observe and uncover data about the environments of more and more faraway planets in our galaxy. By continuing to research thermophiles, we can begin to understand the fundamental limits on what environments could sustain life on Earth as well as across the galaxy.

Juliana DiGiacomo

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: ThermoBase: A database of the phylogeny and physiology of thermophilic and hyperthermophilic organisms, PLoS ONE, May 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0268253.
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