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Arthronema Gygaxiana: The Bacterial Dungeon Master

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Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax touched the lives of the people who loved his games. So when the legendary Dungeon Master died in March 2008, players around the world showed their thanks with heartfelt tributes –including naming a species of bacteria after him.

Arthronema gygaxiana is a cyanobacteria, a microorganism that obtains energy through photosynthesis. It was identified in 2005 by Dr. Dale Casamatta, an associate professor of biology at the University of North Florida. I interviewed Dr. Casamatta when I was reporting my book about Dungeons & Dragons, and he told me about why he named the bacteria after Gygax.

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