Microbial Life


Junk Food

Junk Food

An estimated eight million tons of plastics enter our oceans each year, yet only one percent can be seen floating…

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The Unseen World on Coral Reefs

The Unseen World on Coral Reefs

We have learned that microbial communities on and within us—a microbiome—keep people healthy. Corals reefs also have their own microbiomes that they couldn’t function without.

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The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

Harmful algal blooms can produce toxins that accumulate in shellfish and cause health problems and economic losses. They have increased in strength and frequency worldwide. Can we get advance warnings of when and where they will occur?

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In the Gardens of the Queen

In the Gardens of the Queen

An unprecedented research cruise investigated one of the most beautiful and unexplored coral reefs in the Caribbean and fostered collaboration between U.S. and Cuban scientists.

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The Amazing Acquired Phototroph!

The Amazing Acquired Phototroph!

There are autotrophs, such as plants, that can make their own food. There are heterotrophs, such as animals, that consume other organisms. And then there are curious organisms called mixotrophs, which can do both, switching how they get food depending on the conditions in their environment.

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What Happened to Deepwater Horizon Oil?

What Happened to Deepwater Horizon Oil?

Officials pumped a huge amount of chemicals into the deep ocean during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in an effort to disperse the oil. A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers evidence that the dispersant may helped microbes break down the oil.

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Mummified Microbes

Mummified Microbes

Scientists have found evidence that microbes can thrive deep below the seafloor—sustained by chemicals produced by reactions between seawater and…

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Endangered Whales Get a High-Tech Check-Up

Endangered Whales Get a High-Tech Check-Up

Drones seem to be everywhere these days, from backyards to battlegrounds. Scientists are using them too: in this case, to assess the health of endangered North Atlantic right whales. Since drones are small and quiet, they can fly close to whales without disturbing them, bringing back incredibly detailed photographs and samples of microbe-rich blow.

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Minerals Made by Microbes

Minerals Made by Microbes

Some minerals actually don’t form without a little help from microscopic organisms, using chemical processes that scientists are only beginning to reveal.

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A Mighty Mysterious Molecule

A Mighty Mysterious Molecule

What gives sea air its distinctive scent? A chemical compound called dimethylsulfide. In a new study, WHOI scientists show that the compound may also be used by marine microbes to communicate with one another.

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Recipes for Antibiotic Resistance

Recipes for Antibiotic Resistance

MIT-WHOI graduate student Megan May is investigating how microbes naturally develop resistance to antibiotic compounds in the marine environment and how human activities, including overuse of drugs and pollution, may be affecting the dynamic.

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A Telescope to Peer into the Vast Ocean

A Telescope to Peer into the Vast Ocean

There are more single-celled plankton in the ocean than stars in the universe. A new instrument is about to depart on a mission across the vast Pacific to capture images of what is out there.

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Bringing a Lab to the Seafloor

Bringing a Lab to the Seafloor

Scientists can’t really know if new oceanographic instruments will really work until they try them in actual conditions in the real ocean. In this case, the rubber hit the road at the bottom of the sea.

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