Answering challenges of life in extreme environments research

42 European Experts in the field of life in extreme environments research met on March 18, in the British Antarctic Survey offices in Cambridge (UK) to officially kick off the CAREX project
(Coordination Action for Research Activities on life in Extreme Environments).

Life in Extreme Environments is an emerging area of research in which Europe has considerable expertise but a relatively fragmented research infrastructure. The science of such environments has
enormous relevance for our knowledge of the diversity and environmental limits of microbial, plant and animal life and the novel strategies employed for survival and growth. Such studies are
essential in understanding how life was established on the early Earth and in assessing the possibilities for life on other planetary bodies. These environments are also a rich source of novel
exploitable compounds.

Funded by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for a period of three years, the CAREX project aims at coordinating European research in extreme environments together with
setting-up a European roadmap in the field.

Being a focal point for 55 core and associated partners from 23 European and non-European countries, CAREX takes up the challenge of interdisciplinarity as it considers microbes, plants and
animals evolving in various extreme environments ranging from deep-sea to outer space bodies.

Besides the presentation of the project, and taking into account the specificities of extreme environments, the CAREX kick-off meeting provided a forum where issues such as networking of
scientists, exchange of best practices and identification of research priority were extensively discussed. This lively discussions and exchanges supported the relevance of the projects’
objectives and the expectation of the European and international scientific community.

Website: www.carex-eu.org

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