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One from many: single 'species' biofilms differentiate into multiple roles

The Lost City hydrothermal fields in the mid-Atlantic are pulsing with microbial life thanks to the process of serpentinization, which generates heat and hydrogen and methane from rocks and seawater. So how is it that a single “species” of archaea comprises the bulk of the biofilms lining these hydrogen-rich carbonate chimneys?

The thick, mucilaginous biofilms that coat the insides of carbonate chimneys in the Lost City hydrothermal field are dominated by a single type of archaeon, according to their 16S genes. But this is a case where 16S doesn’t tell the whole story – not by a long shot. A study in mBio this week takes a close look at these biofilms and finds these archaea, which are practically identical at first blush, are probably highly differentiated.
Click on the "source" link above to read more on mBio's blog, mBiosphere...

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