2005 Media/Journalist Workshop

Yellowstone: Life in Extreme Environments
August 4—7, 2005—Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park thermal pool

The 2005 workshop focused on the ability of life to exist in extreme environments, such as this thermal pool in Yellowstone National Park. (Courtesy David Mencin)

We now understand that life on Earth can live in an extraordinary number of unusual habitats and under what we would consider to be extreme physical conditions. The goal of this workshop is to bring journalists in contact with scientist who are at the forefront of the exploration of life in these environments. We are focusing on several broad areas, using Yellowstone National Park and its hydrothermal system as our backdrop.


  • What conditions determine the limits of life?
    A look at the forms of energy required to support life, tolerances that influence limits on life, adaptive strategies of life, and an assessment of the diverse resources essential to life.
  • What is the functional diversity of life?
    Topics include the physiology and structure of extremophiles, stress responses to temperature and pH, community interactions, microbial diversity, and the evolutionary adaptation to extreme environments.
  • How does life evolve from pre-biotic conditions?
    An examination of the origin of life in an extreme environment, modern analogues of the early Earth, physical and chemical prerequisites of life, and looking for life elsewhere in the solar system.