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Isobaric Gas-Tight sampler

Measuring Deep-sea Microbes

Former graduate student Jesse McNichol and postdoctoral researcher François Thomas conduct experiments in an Isobaric Gas-Tight sampler (IGT) aboard the reserach vessel Atlantis. An IGT sucks in bacteria and fluids from deep-sea hydrothermal vents and maintains extreme deep-sea pressures inside the cylinder when it comes back to the surface, allowing the microbes inside it to remain active. Working with WHOI scientist Stefan Sievert, McNichol measured the rates at which microbes consumed specific chemicals and converted them into biomass. In a recently published study, they showed vent microbes are surprisingly productive and play an important role supporting life higher up the food chain. (Photo by Jennifer Barone ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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