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Our planet offers many opportunities for life on the edge: high and low temperatures, high salt concentrations, acidic and basic conditions and toxic environments, to name but a few extremes. Recent studies have revealed the diversity of fungi that can occur in stressful environments that are hostile to most eukaryotes. We review these studies here, with the additional purpose of proposing some mechanisms that would allow for the evolutionary adaptation of eukaryotic microbial life under extreme conditions. We focus, in particular, on life in ice and life at high salt concentrations, as there is a surprising similarity between the fungal populations in these two kinds of environments, both of which are characterized...