Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Resourceful Microbes Reign in World’s Oceans

25.06.2013
A new chapter in the exploration of microbial life

A research team led by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has discovered that marine microbes are adapted to very narrow and specialized niches in their environment. This may explain why so few of these microbes—usually less than 1%—can be grown for study in the laboratory.


PHOTO: Research underway in the Bigelow Single Cell Genomics Center. Photo by Dennis Griggs.

By utilizing new genetic tools, the researchers’ new ability to read and interpret genetic information from the remaining 99% will be pivotal in detecting and mitigating the impact of human activities in the ocean. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America this week.

The cutting-edge technology that proved critical to the research, and was implemented on a large scale for the first time, is called single cell genomics.
“While other tools are available to analyze genes in uncultured microbes, they seldom tell us how these genes fit together and what microbes they come from,” said Ramunas Stepanauskas, the study’s senior author and director of the Bigelow Single Cell Genomics Center (SCGC). “By developing and applying high-throughput single cell genomics, we obtained the first near-complete genomic blueprints of many microbial types that dominate marine ecosystems but used to be inaccessible to scientific investigation.”

“We found that natural bacterioplankton are devoid of ‘genomic pork,’ such as gene duplications and noncoding nucleotides, and utilize more diverse energy sources than previously thought. This research approach opens a new chapter in the exploration of microbial life in the oceans and in other environments on our planet.”

“We found that genomic streamlining is the rule rather than exception among marine bacterioplankton, an important biological feature that is poorly represented in existing microbial cultures,” said Brandon Swan, lead author and postdoctoral researcher in the SCGC. “We also found that marine microbes are effectively dispersed around the globe, but they stay within their temperature ‘comfort zones.’ Bacteria that thrive in the frigid Gulf of Maine don’t show up near Hawaii. However, as long as the temperature is right, the same types are found anywhere in the world, whether on the coast of British Columbia, Northern Europe, or Tasmania.”

“Thanks to single cell genomics and other technological advances, we now have a much more accurate understanding of the biological diversity and processes taking place in the ocean,” said Tanja Woyke, a key co-author from the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute. “The amount of adaptations and biochemical innovation that have accumulated in marine microorganisms over billions of years of evolution is astounding—a glass of seawater encodes more genetic information than a desktop computer can hold. This information represents a largely untapped source of novel natural products and bioenergy solutions, both essential for human well-being.”

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is an independent, non-profit center for global ocean research, ocean science education, and technology transfer. The Laboratory conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography -- examining the biology in the world’s oceans at the molecular level -- to the large-scale processes that drive ocean ecosystems and global environmental conditions.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Stepanauskas may be contacted at 207-315-2567, ext. 308, or at rstepanauskas@bigelow.org.

Contact: Tatiana Brailovskaya, Director of Communications, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, (207) 315-2567, ext. 103; tbrailovskaya@bigelow.org

Tatiana Brailovskaya | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bigelow.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>