Microbe

Scientists Discovery Mystery Krill Killer

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 17, 2003   View Article

Scientists have discovered a tiny, one-celled parasite that causes a grisly and fatal infection in krill. Masses of the parasite grow inside the krill, eat its organs, divide, and then burst out of their host’s dead body in search of new victims.

The discovery sheds more light on a key player in ocean’s food chain. Scientists previously thought most animals like krill were either eaten by larger predators or simply starved to death. The find shows that parasites also play an important role.

Deciphering the “Bugs” in Human Intestines

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 28, 2003   View Article

The human intestine is a swirling and churning environment that is host to microbial communities as diverse as those found in the Amazon rain forest. And like the regions beneath the soils that carpet the rain forest floor, much of what lies within the gut remains unexplored.

A series of papers in the March 28 issue of Science delves into this scientific frontier and begins to unravel the secrets of the complex and highly evolved microbial communities that teem throughout the length of our intestines.

Muck Is Last Frontier of Biodiversity, Experts Argue

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 6, 2003   View Article

“Biodiversity” evokes lush, tropical forests teeming with animals and carpeted with vibrant vegetation. But for many scientists and soil specialists, biodiversity signifies the wet, clammy muck beneath the forest floor.

That muck, they say, is the last frontier in the science of biodiversity, and it deserves international conservation focus.

Brazil Bug Study May Aid Farmland Preservation

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 3, 2002   View Article

Overturn a wet rock or poke into a pile of damp leaf litter, and you may send a mass of tiny creatures known as Collembola jumping for cover.

The world’s most abundant insect (although taxonomists debate if they are true insects), Collembola have been around for at least 400 million years and exist in as many as 100,000 varieties.

Group of Microbes Change Dissolved Gold to Solid

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 30, 2001   View Article

Breathing is a rich experience for a group of unusual microbes that typically live deep beneath the sea.

A microbiologist has found that microscopic organisms known as extremophiles breathe in dissolved gold and out comes the stuff of gold rings, necklaces, and earrings. The finding may explain how some gold ore deposits formed.

Scientist Journeys Into Caves for Clues to Extreme Life

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 30, 2001   View Article

Caving is a highbrow sport. It takes intellectual prowess in the disciplines of geology and hydrology to know how a cave forms, and thus how to identify where hidden passages lie, said Hazel Barton, a microbiologist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.

Barton should know. She started caving as a teenager and has become one of the world’s foremost cave cartographers. Today, she employs her uncanny ability to seek out caves as part of her work in studying extremophiles—organisms that thrive in environments where human life could not.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach