Search Google Appliance

Center for Life in Extreme Environments
The Center for Life in Extreme Environments (CLEE) is committed to fostering transformative science by expanding understanding of life as we know it, by promoting science education for future generations, and by sharing exciting discoveries of our world and beyond.

At Earth's extremes, life gets a little weird.

Fish that thrive beneath Antarctica’s polar ice. Acid-loving microbes inhabiting thermal vents at the ocean floor and hot springs on land. The amazing killifish, emerging from suspended animation in mud when the rains arrive in the hot, arid desert Southwest.  Mosses that live happily at over 100 degrees farenheit.

These are just a few of the extreme adaptations studied by the over 80 researchers comprised of faculty, staff and students all working in the Center for Life in Extreme Environments, to explore the origins, and physical and chemical boundaries of life.


Year CLEE Facility Opened: 2010

Academic Personnel: ~80

Facility Size: 11,000 sq. feet

Number of active federal grants: 12

Granting agencies supporting current research:          NSF (7), NIH (3), Templeton Foundation (1),       3M Corporation (1), and private donors.

Integrating field and laboratory research:

CLEE faculty and students study organisms from some fo the most extreme habitats on Earth, including:

  • Yellowstone and Lassen National Park hot-springs and lakes  
  • Deep-sea hydrothermal vents
  • Antarctica
  • Deserts of the southwestern United States
  • Coastal deserts of South America


Recent News and Publications

Summer 2014:  CLEE students have received several prestigous awards.  Matthew Chmielewski recently receieved a Fullbright Scholarship to conduct research in Chile and Timea Deakova received two separate awards for presentations at major scientific conferences.  See the News page for more information.

The Lehman lab recently published a new paper: Hordijk, W, Vaiyda, N, Lehman, N (2014).  Serial transfer can aid in the evolution of autocatalytic sets.  J. of Systems Chemistry. 5:4.  doi:10.1186/1759-2208-5-4.

The Buckley lab recently published a new paper: Sleadd, I.M., Lee, M., Hassumani, D.O., Stecyk, T.M.A., Zeitz, O.K., Buckley, B.A.  2014.  Sub-lethal heat stress causes apoptosis in an Antarctic fish that lacks an inducible heat shock response.  Journal of Thermal Biology 44:119-125. 

11/13: Click here to learn more about zombie viruses and how they might inform us about life on other planets.  Courtesy of Jim Laidler (Stedman lab).

10/13: Jason Maxifield, a graduate student in the Rosenstiel lab was awarded "Best Student Presentation" for his talk entitled Air Quality Impacts of VOC emissions from energy crops at the 45th annual Air Pollution workshop in Portland, OR, 

3/13:  Geoff Diemer, a CLEE graduate student, has received the "Computational and high-throughput studies in genomics and systems biology" Award from BioMed Central for his publication entitled "A novel virus genome in an extreme environment suggest recombination between unrelated groups of DNA and RNA viruses." Click here for more information on the award winners.

10/12: Nilesh Vaidya (a recently defended PhD student) and Niles Lehman have a new paper in Nature entitled "Spontaneous network formation among cooperative RNA replicators."