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Center for Life in Extreme Environments
The Center for Life in Extreme Environments (CLEE) is committed to fostering transformative interdisciplinary research that advances our understanding of the boundaries, extremes and limitations of life in 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: 2011

Academic Personnel: ~80

Facility Size: 11,000 sq. feet

Grant dollars raised since 1998: $32 million

Granting agencies who support CLEE research:        NASA, Keck, NSF, NIH, USFS, USGS, Templeton Foundation, 3M Corporation 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
  • Marine oxyen minimum zones
  • Antarctica
  • Deserts of the southwestern United States
  • Coastal deserts of South America