What do organisms need to survive?

  1. Hi fellows,
    Last time in school, we learned what organisms need to survive...
    My teacher listed: energy source, water, minerals, vitamins. I was just wondering where is an oxygen or any kind of gases. I asked Her, "what about an oxygen or some kinds of gases, I think organisms cannot live in a vacuum" and She said: there are some types of organisms that can live in a vacuum. Until now I thought that it's impossible to grow/live in a vacuum. But in addition do all organisms really need energy source, etc as above and are there really organisms that can live in a vacuum? I tried to look in google, however couldn't find anything. If You are sure of the right answer please tell, and if you have, can you paste some links on the topic?
    Thanks all.

    p.s There is also something that bothers me. "All organisms need energy source, water, minerals and vitamins" + "there are some types of organisms that can live in a vacuum" .... :-s It doesn't make any sense, at least for me, do You think the same way?
  2. jcsd
  3. Ouabache

    Ouabache 1,316
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    yes, all life requires an energy source.
    If you are looking for a reference that describes this, try the National Center for Science Education
    Perhaps a better description of the components for life (as we know it) are; liquid water, chemical building blocks (vitamins, minerals, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen) and an energy source. ref

    I'm not familiar with any organisms that can live in a vacuum. Besides if water is a requirement for living organisms; in a vacuum, water will vaporize and dissipate (vanish). It logically follows, since organisms require water, they cannot live in a vacuum.
  4. DocToxyn

    DocToxyn 424
    Science Advisor

    Perhaps your teacher's statement about animals that "live in a vacuum" was referring to animals that can survive exposure to a vacuum. Tardigrades are a great example of an group of organisms that can live through periods of extreme environmental change, but they technically just shut down until better conditions return, ie. return of normal pressure. So one might argue that they aren't "living" as much as biding their time. That link also makes some statements about other extremophiles and the conditions they live under.
  5. to learn about organisms that don't need any air just look up anaerobic organisms, yes that means there is such thing
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