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Microbiology

This category contains 31 posts
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 2nd year PhD student in Biological Oceanography at the University […]

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? […]

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 […]

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