Hot Spring - Biota in Hot Springs

Biota in Hot Springs

A thermophile is an organism — a type of extremophile — that thrives at relatively high temperatures, between 45 and 80 °C (113 and 176 °F). Thermophiles are found in hot springs, as well as deep sea hydrothermal vents and decaying plant matter such as peat bogs and compost.

Some hot springs biota are infectious to humans. For example:

  • Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba, live in warm waters and soils worldwide and may cause meningitis. Several deaths have been attributed to this amoeba, which enters the brain through the nasal passages.
  • Acanthamoeba also can spread through hot springs, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.
  • Legionella bacteria have been spread through hot springs.
  • Viruses have been collected from very extreme environments, for example, a hot spring with a temperature of 87 to 93 °C (189 to 199 °F) and an incredibly acidic pH of 1.5 in Pozzuoli, Italy. These viruses were observed to infect cells in the laboratory.

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