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Activity: Living in the Extremes of the Biosphere


In this activity you’ll describe what you think it might be like for humans to live in the extremes of the biosphere. Think about the challenges associated with living either underwater or in the upper atmosphere. Also, think about what humans might have to endure if the biosphere of Earth becomes inhospitable.
Tardigrades are classified as extremophiles and have been found in hot springs, on top of the Himalayas, under layers of solid ice, and in ocean sediments. "Waterbear" by Bob Goldstein and Vicky Madden, UNC Chapel Hill - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Humans live in a “comfort zone” close to the surface of the Earth, but there are many species that live outside of this comfort zone. What makes these regions different from the comfort zone we live in? What challenges would humans face if they chose – or were forced – to live in the extremes of the biosphere?
Study the image of the biosphere below, and then make a list of three challenges that humans would face if they lived in the extremes of the biosphere.
Click here for a bigger version. Big History Project

For Further Discussion

Share your answers in the Questions Area below and make sure to read what other people posted. Add some details to at least one other participant’s answers.

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