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 (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His 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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