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Ginny Edgcomb with samples of protists and bacteria from Gulf of Mexico

Probing for Protists

Virginia Edgcomb, a microbial ecologist in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at WHOI, will be Chief Scientist on the next Dive and Discover cruise, which heads into the Mediterranean Sea on November 22. Edgcomb will lead a team of researchers aboard the R/V Atlantis as they study the protists—single-celled eukaryotic (containing a nucleus) microbes—living in lakes of toxic, anoxic, super-salty water at the bottom of the sea. The scientists are especially interested in the adaptations protists have developed that enable them to survive in this very hostile environment. Protists form a crucial link in the marine food chain as they prey on bacteria and are in turn eaten by larger zooplankton. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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