Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First worldwide search for all microbes of the oceans starts now

04.02.2005


The single-celled organisms of the world’s oceans are immensely diverse. For the ‘International Census of Marine Microbes’ scientists are going to track down knowledge on the diversity and distribution of these micro-organisms and their viruses. The budget? 900,000 dollars of the Sloan Foundation in New York to start with. On February 7 and 8, the steering committee from America and the Netherlands will gather for the first time.



Goal of the International Census of Marine Microbes (ICoMM) is to get to know as many sea species as possible by international cooperation. By 2010 the scientists have to rapport what is known, what is still unknown but is knowable, and what may never be known about the biodiversity of the micro-organisms from the ocean.

By far the largest part of earth’s biodiversity is microbial. This is particularly the case for the oceans. Here we find 90 percent of the organic materials (the biomass) of sea life within micro-organisms. For over three billion years these unicellular organisms fuelled all kinds of processes and cycles. This way, our planet became also inhabitable for ‘higher’ organisms with more cells.


In the Amsterdam ‘Trippenhuis’, head quarters of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the meeting of the ICoMM steering committee will take place next week. In this project the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) and the Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) closely cooperate with the American Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provided a seed grant of $ 900.000 for ICoMM. But that is only the start. The organisers Prof Dr Mitchell Sogin (MBL), Prof Dr Jan de Leeuw (NIOZ), and Dr Lucas Stal (NIOO) expect that the pilot projects will start off larger-scaled research of marine microbial diversity. “In the end, ICoMM will have a large reach-out of tens of millions to some billions of dollars,” they estimate.

Next to cataloguing and mapping the organisms already known and discovering new ones, the researchers also want to understand the diversity. Therefore, they also aim for the evolutionary and ecological processes by which the diversity of marine micro-organisms has been created and is maintained. “Understanding this diversity is an enormous scientific problem,” says Lucas Stal of NIOO. “For research at this scale a careful planning and international cooperation are crucial.”

The project marks the first global effort to acquire information about diversity and distribution of single-celled organisms and their associated viruses in the world’s oceans. These organisms belong to three so-called domains, being Bacteria, Archaea, and Protista (a.o. microalgae). The oceans are teeming with micro-life: about one million microbes per millilitre of seawater and one billion bacteria per gram of sediment. “Given this gigantic microbial diversity, our plan to develop a database for marine microbes also including genomic and biochemical data is extremely essential and timely,” says Jan de Leeuw of NIOZ.

Over the next two years, ICoMM organisers will focus on building a framework for the mammoth undertaking. An advisory committee and three working groups of marine microbiologists are already assembled to develop experimental plans and the database.

The ICoMM project is part of the 10-year, $1 billion ‘Census of Marine Life’ (CoML). This massive initiative aims to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in the oceans – past, present, and future. A network of hundreds of scientists in more than 70 countries is involved in it. Unlike ICoMM, the dozen other research initiatives focus on specific geographical locations or restricted environments.

The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) seeks to be one of the world’s leading centres of expertise working to develop and understanding of the basic processes in seas and oceans. For this purpose, novel methodologies and research equipment are being developed. The institute also plays a major role in the education of students and junior scientists, and offers its services and facilities to universities and institutions, both from within the Netherlands and abroad. Royal NIOZ is connected to the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) studies the ecology of land, freshwater and brackish and seawater. The Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology in Yerseke studies life in the sea and in estuaries. The NIOO employs about 250 people and is the largest research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science (KNAW).

Froukje Rienks | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nioo.knaw.nl

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>