Living in an Alkaline Environment


Living in an Alkaline Environment is a three-part activity that explores the ecology and diversity of life in alkaline environments. It can be downloaded as a Word (Microsoft Word 124kB Apr29 05) document or accessed by using the left-hand navigation and provided links below.

Student using proper safety procedures in the laboratory, Mono Lake, Dunaliella, Frontonia, Artemia monica, California Gull
From left to right: Mia Patterson uses proper safety procedures as she begins the activity (Image credit: David J. Patterson); Mono Lake (Image credit: Brett Leigh Dicks/microscope ); Dunaliella (Image Credit: David J. Patterson/microscope ); Frontonia (Image credit: David J. Patterson/microscope ); Artemia monica (Image credit: David J. Patterson/microscope ); California Gull (Image credit: National Park Service staff photo)


Living in an Alkaline Environment features Mono Lake, CA as an example of an alkaline, hypersaline ecosystem.The first two components are hands-on activities, while the third component is a web-based inquiry:

  • Part One analyzes the differences between Mono Lake water and distilled water.
  • Part Two tests the effect of increasing alkalinity on the survival of common soil bacteria.
  • Part Three examines the behaviors, adaptations, and diversity of organisms living in and around Mono Lake.

Begin the Activity



Related Collections


The following Microbial Life Collections offer related background information and resources to supplement topics covered in this activity:


Microbial Life in Alkaline Environments examines the challenges of living in an alkaline environment. It includes a summary of survival mechanisms and enzymatic industrial applications, as well as a collection of resources featuring this amazing group of microbes.



Mono Lake: Mono Lake, located in California's Eastern Sierra, is both alkaline and hypersaline. In addition to its unusual array of alkaliphilic, halophilic, and anaerobic inhabitants, it has a remarkarble preservation success story.

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