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Microbiology

This category contains 36 posts

Protist Factories: A Potential Way to Make Gold and Silver

Modern research is investigating the ability of organisms to make valuable products for us. A multi-national team examined the ability of a species of protist to make important lipid molecules as well as silver and gold nanoparticles, and the results were quite exciting! Daniel SpeerHey! I’m a PhD student at the University of California, Davis […]

Under Pressure: Novel Experiments in Microbiology on the Seafloor

Evaluating the effect of pressure on marine microorganisms is notoriously difficult. New research attempts to overcome this challenge by comparing the results of experiments conducted in a shipboard laboratory with those conducted at the bottom of the seafloor. Amanda SemlerI’m a PhD candidate in Earth System Science at Stanford University, and I study how microbes […]

Enormous Source and Sink of Hydrocarbons Discovered in the Ocean

A team of scientists just discovered an enormous new source of hydrocarbons to the ocean: cyanobacteria. But what does their hydrocarbon production (and its immediate consumption by other microbes) mean for cleanup after oil spills? Amanda SemlerI’m a PhD candidate in Earth System Science at Stanford University, and I study how microbes in deep ocean […]

Living Fossils Hidden in Plain Sight

Around 2.4 billion years ago, the emergence of cyanobacteria multiplied oxygen concentrations in our atmosphere by almost a million, and made life as we know it possible. But the specific group of cyanobacteria responsible has never been identified. A team of scientists from UC Boulder have found a promising candidate hidden in plain sight. Amanda […]

Antarctic Sea Ice Feeds Microbes with a Surprising Ability

By sampling seawater around Antarctica, a Japanese research team has discovered microorganisms that can transform nitrogen gas into more biologically useful forms of nitrogen. But why do the microbes have this strange ability, and why do they have it here? Amanda SemlerI’m a PhD candidate in Earth System Science at Stanford University, and I study […]

Relative body size and major size classifications. Figure courtesy of Gabrielle Stedman

Oh where, oh where can micro-organisms be?

Does the width of 10 strands of human hair matter compared to the size of an entire ocean? A new study shows how small distinctions in body-size amongst micro-organisms is the difference between occupying whole ocean basins and just sub-regions. Gabrielle StedmanI am currently a PhD student in Biological Oceanography at the University of Hawai‘i […]

Life at One Hundred Million Years Old

A team of scientists traveled to the South Pacific Gyre and discovered 100 million year old, energy-starved microorganisms hidden below the seafloor. With a little bit of food (and patience), the team brought these ancient microbes back to life in the laboratory, using carbon isotopes for their detective work. Amanda SemlerI’m a PhD candidate in […]

Me, Myself, and I: The Solitude of Bacteria above the Southern Ocean

Picture this: shrink yourself down to the 1/1000th the size of the period at the end of this sentence. You are now the size of a bacteria. Due to your dimensions, you are so incredibly light (around 0.0000000000000000007 pounds) that the slightest wind could pick you up and move you around. Around most of the […]

What your poop says about your diet: Iron in the ocean is controlled by zooplankton diet and poop

Have you ever had weird colored poop? Just like your poop can tell you what you’ve been eating lately, zooplankton poop can tell you what they’ve been feeding on. Iron in zooplankton poop is used as a nutrient by phytoplankton to boost their growth and absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Therefore, understanding how […]

Tough bugs below the waves?

Just as humans can build up tolerances to things we’re exposed to, so can bacteria. Introduce antibiotics to an ecosystem and it’s a fair bet local germs will take note. Tag along and learn what a group of scientists in Florida found after sampling the water we’ve flushed down the drains! Andrea SchlunkI am a […]

Think global, act local: how lake microbes respond to their environments

How do microbes in lake sediments respond to small and large scale influences, and what does it have to do with climate change? Nyla HusainI’m a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. I use a small-scale computer model to study how physical features like surface waves at the air-sea […]

Lights, Camera, and the Action-Packed World of Giant Viruses

A newly discovered giant virus might even be capable of altering its hosts ability to derive energy. A virus that infects a small eukaryotic predator has the largest viral genome found in oceans to date and has several novel genes that aid in its infection of these eukaryotic organisms. Samantha SettaI’m a PhD student in […]

Outreach- Ship to Shore STEM education

Delivering field work directly from the field to the classroom has become an important part of science communication and engagement. This post introduces a great learning tool called Adopt a Microbe- a fun and engaging project and website designed to bring microbes and marine science inside the classroom. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My […]

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? […]

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    This week for  #WriterWednesday  at  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Gabby Stedman. Gabby is interested in interested in understanding how many species of small-bodied animals there are in the deep-sea and where they live so we can better protect them from
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