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There's a lot of information floating around the net about how tough they are & what they can survive, like "We now know that some tardigrades can tolerate being frozen to -272.8 °C".

But any details on the environmental ranges they can actually be active in rather than what extremes they can survive in one or other of their various states of metabolic suspension seem entirely absent for the casual (& not so casual, I've spent hours looking for these details) surfer.

So does anyone out there know what the temperature range of an active (rather than dormant) tardigrade is, with specific reference to the lower end of the scale.

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  • $\begingroup$ This paper, Survival in extreme environments – on the current knowledge of adaptations in tardigrades, concludes as follows: It would seem that these extraordinary organisms have two ways of handling environmental extremes; one way is entering a dormant state, i.e. cryptobiosis or diapause/encystment and the other, likely requiring a high metabolic rate, is relaying on e.g. osmoregulation and DNA repair, while staying active." I am not knowledgeable enough in this area to post an answer. $\endgroup$ – user1136 Dec 21 '18 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ The paper cited above continues: "The mechanisms enabling tardigrades to with- stand environmental extremes in their active state may provide clues to the much debated mechanism under- lying the phenomenon of cryptobiosis. Intriguingly, adaptations to some of the harshest environments on Earth have given tardigrades the ability to survive conditions that by far exceed the extremes presented by the environment (e.g. extreme levels of ionizing radia- tion and extremely low temperatures), presenting an unresolved puzzle for contemporary biology" $\endgroup$ – user1136 Dec 21 '18 at 0:46

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