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Hunting Zombie Microbes

Hunting Zombie Microbes

March 27, 2019

Far below the ocean floor, sediments are teeming with bizarre, zombie-like microbes. Although they’re technically alive, they grow in slow motion, and can take decades for a single cell to divide—something microbes at the surface do in a matter of minutes. WHOI researchers are picking apart how they survive by examining their source of “food”—nearby molecules of organic carbon—which helps further our understanding of the limitations of life on Earth. Here Emily Estes (right), lead author of the recent study, and Boston University student Chloe Anderson section sediment cores taken during an expedition in the north Atlantic Ocean aboard the R/V Knorr. (Photo by Kevin King)