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Microbiology

This category contains 23 posts

Microbialites are the unseen power house for marine and inland sea ecosystems

Ever hear someone say, “Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not there?” Well, microscopic bacteria and algae are hard to see, but they play an important role in marine ecosystems, and in some cases, many different types of bacteria and algae grow together and produce large reef-like structures. Read on to find […]

Fixin’ to lose: Trichodesmium reacts to climate change

Nitrogen is vital for all life on the planet. One of the main global sources for nitrogen, the bacteria Trichodesmium, may stop providing nitrogen to the global cycle in an ocean affected by climate change. LeAundra JeffsI am a Master’s Candidate at University of Delaware where I study the evolution of microbes in the sediments […]

Biofilms are a prominent first step in the colonization of wood-falls

A profound yet never-before-appreciated first step in the colonization of sulfur oxidizing bacteria on the surface of wood-debris in the deep-sea is attributed to sugars and other labile components of wood. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a marine research scientist who has been lucky to have had many roles […]

It’s getting cold in here!

As we here into winter, we notice changes taking place in nature all around us. But what do microbes in the ocean do when it gets cold??? Laura ZinkeI am a PhD student studying sediment geomicrobiology at the University of Southern California. My primary research interests lie deep under the sea studying how microorganisms survive […]

A blanket of oil: the role of bacteria in cleaning up after Deepwater Horizon

Nearly one million barrels of oil landed on the seafloor after the Deepwater Horizon spill – a feast if bacteria are able to consume it. Michael GrawI’m a 5th year PhD student at Oregon State University researching the microbial ecology of marine sediments – why do we find microbes where they are in the seafloor, […]

Riding the phage wave: Emerging role of viruses in the ocean

Viruses live in the ocean, where they infect bacteria who also live in the ocean. Ocean viruses are crucial to the ecosystem, but we don’t know very much about how they ‘survive’ in the ocean. Scientists used data from samples collected all over the world, and explored what types of viruses were in these samples. […]

The answer to starvation? Diversity

Photosynthetic microorganisms can’t go it alone, so they succeed by playing host to a diverse array of microbial partners Michael GrawI’m a 5th year PhD student at Oregon State University researching the microbial ecology of marine sediments – why do we find microbes where they are in the seafloor, and what are they doing there? […]

The ocean’s tiny, mysterious majority

The earth has more viruses than the universe has stars – but we know far less about our tiny majority at home than we do about the glowing balls of gas in our night sky. Michael GrawI’m a 5th year PhD student at Oregon State University researching the microbial ecology of marine sediments – why […]

Toxic living: finding the right home for sulfur-oxidizing bacteria

Hydrothermal vents are hot, dark, and toxic environments. But to sulfur oxidizing bacteria, they’re home. Michael GrawI’m a 5th year PhD student at Oregon State University researching the microbial ecology of marine sediments – why do we find microbes where they are in the seafloor, and what are they doing there? I spend my non-science […]

Methane on the dinner menu

Bacteria in coastal waters can eat methane, a greenhouse gas – but just how much and how fast can they eat? Michael GrawI’m a 5th year PhD student at Oregon State University researching the microbial ecology of marine sediments – why do we find microbes where they are in the seafloor, and what are they […]

Hunter-Chiller: Multiple feeding strategies for some of the world’s smallest organisms

Because of their ability to conduct photosynthesis, most of our planet’s oxygen comes from microscopic organisms in the ocean called algae. In addition to photosynthesis, some of these algae can also hunt and consume prey to supplement their energy needs. In this study a group of scientists has set out to determine just how their […]

Sharkcano, a melting pot for biology

No, a Sharkcano is not a volcano that erupts sharks. IT IS WAY COOLER THAN THAT! It is a submarine volcano that hosts a diverse macro community in water that is much warmer and more acidic that the surrounding seawater. Read more to find out about this alien-esc ecosystem in the South Pacific Ocean. Anne […]

A mercurial tug o’ war in Antarctic sea ice

DNA from bacteria living in Antarctic sea ice provides a clue to the mysterious origins of methyl mercury in seawater in the Southern Ocean. Abrahim El GamalAbrahim is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he studies marine chemical biology.

Lionfish slime helps ward off diseases

We know of many things that protect animals against disease – immune systems and gut bacteria are just the two most common examples. It turns out fish have antimicrobial properties that come from bacteria that live in the slime that covers their bodies, and it just might make lionfish specifically more resistant to disease. Erin […]

Speed dating: how finding that special symbiosis saved some coral from climate change

Choosing the right symbiont might be a coral’s ticket to cheating global warming. Abrahim El GamalAbrahim is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he studies marine chemical biology.

Wasting Away in Virus-ville

Sea star wasting disease still plagues the U.S. West Coast, but clues to its nature are being uncovered. Find out how temperature may be a key player in the progression of the disease in today’s article! Austen BlairAusten Blair is a MS candidate at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. While his […]

Iceberg Buffet: How giant icebergs bring food to plankton

While icebergs are calving from Antarctic glaciers at alarming rates, they may provide a negative feedback for the carbon cycle. Giant icebergs bring large amounts of iron to iron-poor areas of the Southern Ocean, stimulating primary productivity and boosting carbon sequestration. Zoe GentesZoe has an M.S. in Oceanography and a B.S. in Geologic Oceanography from […]

Of whales and cows: the baleen whale microbiome revealed

Scientists sequenced the microbiomes of several baleen whales that are strict carnivores and found some startling similarities to the microbiomes of terrestrial herbivores. Abrahim El GamalAbrahim is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he studies marine chemical biology.

One to tango: a bacterium that does the work of two in the nitrogen cycle

Scientists report bacterial species capable of performing the two-step process of nitrification, traditionally thought to exist only as a division of labor between two functionally distinct bacteria. Abrahim El GamalAbrahim is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he studies marine chemical biology.

It’s a virus’ world: Glaciers host unique viral communities

Scientists have only recently started studying the wealth of biological diversity that is found on top of glaciers. Cryoconite holes hold microscopic communities of algae, bacteria, and viruses. These studies are revealing an increasingly complex web of interactions between community members, driving the evolution of many unique adaptations to survive in such stiff competition. Irvin […]

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