Prokaryotic organisms are able to grow at far higher temperatures than are eukaryotes.

Archaea are known to group, among some mesophiles, the most extremophiles organisms (es. Pyrococcus furiosus), but also some bacteria can reach quite high-temperature habitats, such as Thermus aquaticus.

Eukaryotes instead are far less tolerant in terms of maximum growth temperature.

Also most of the hyperthermophiles are chemoorganotrophs or chemolithotrophs, being autotrophs (Cyanobacteria) far less heat tolerant.

My question is about the physical or chemical limitations that block eukaryotes from adapt at extreme habitats like prokaryotes do.

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    $\begingroup$ Isn't it true that champions of resistance to extreme environments (whether extreme hot, extreme cold, extreme salinity, extreme drought, ...) are often prokaryotes? I feel like it might not be specific to heat alone. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Apr 16 '17 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ I think so, for what I know Archaea are the champions of resistance to extreme environments sensu lato, but I was concentrating on heat alone to pose a question that can be answered in a concise and specific manner. $\endgroup$ – Saul Pierotti Apr 16 '17 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ The premise, that only Prokaryotes tolerate high temperatures, might not be true. For example, the Pompeii worm can tolerate high temperatures. Since Prokaryotes developed earlier, the diversity might be greater and examples of extremophiles more extended. $\endgroup$ – Royco Apr 28 '17 at 13:23

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