Prokaryotes can be found in a wide range of environments; below are some of the environments in which prokaryotes live:
1. TERRESTRIAL ENVIRONMENTS:
. Soil: Prokaryotes are abundant in soil, playing crucial roles in nutrient cycling, decomposition, and organic matter formation.
.Plant Surfaces: some prokaryotes establish symbiotic relationships with plants, residing on their surfaces and aiding in processes like nitrogen fixation.
2. AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS:
.Freshwater: Prokaryotes inhabit rivers and ponds, contributing to the microbial communities that impact water quality and nutrient cycling.
. Marine: They are found in oceans and seas, participating in marine food webs, nutrient cycling and the degradation of organic matter.
3. EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS:
. Extremophiles: certain prokaryotes thrive in extreme conditions such as high temperatures (thermophiles), high salinity (halophiles), extreme acidity or alkalinity (acidophiles or alkaliphiles), and high pressure (barophiles). Examples include bacteria living near deep-sea hydrothermal vents or in hot springs.
4. HOST -ASSOCIATED ENVIRONMENTS;
. Human Body: Prokaryotes are integral to the human microbiome, residing in the digestive system, skin, and other mucosal surfaces.
5. ATMOSPHERE :
. Airborne Microbes: Some prokaryotes are utilized in industrial processes such as termination to produce various products like antibiotics and biofuels.
Halophiles are organisms that thrive in high-salt environments. Some prokaryotes, including certain bacteria and archaea, can be halophiles and thrive in high-salt environments.
Many prokaryotes are chemoheterotrophs. The classification of prokaryotes as chemoheterothrophs is based on their nutritional strategies.
Prokaryotic chemoheterotrophs obtain energy by breaking down organic molecules through fermentation, respiration, or other forms of anaerobic metabolism. These organisms use the carbon from organic compounds to build their cellular structures and biomolecules. Some prokaryotes are also photoautotrophs, which means they obtain their energy from sunlight and carbon from carbon dioxide.
Oren, A. (2002). Molecular ecology of extremely halophilic Archaea and Bacteria. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 39(3), 1–7. doi: 10.1016/S0168-6496(01)00228-6
Prescott, L. M., Harley, J.P .,&Klein, D.A (2019) .Microbiology (8th ed.) McGraw-Hill