Adopt a Microbe From the Deep

As part of the Expedition 327 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program aboard the ocean drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution, Adopt a Microbe is unleashed!  From the website…

The project in a nutshell: Adopt a microbe from the deep biosphere.  Get to know your microbe through exciting weekly activities. Submit your weekly projects online to qualify to win one of our fabulous prizes!

I’m am adopting Thiomargarita namibiensis (above) the largest bacterium known at nearly 1 millimeter in diameter.

Its name means ‘sulfur pearl of Namibia’ because of the white color of the concentrated sulfur pockets inside its spherical body.  Thiomargarita was discovered in stinky sulfidic sediments off the coast of (surprise!) Namibia, and it stores the sulfide inside its body for food.  The vast majority of Thiomargarita‘s body consists of a bladder filled with nitrate, which is also used for food.  Thiomargarita is looking for a happy home in rotten egg-smelling deep sea sediments!

Dr. M (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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