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!

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