The most clearly plant-like algae, this species gets its namesake hue from high levels of chlorophyll.
Their cell walls are made up of cellulose, the same material that makes up the cell walls in larger, multicellular plants. Like plants, they store the food they make through photosyn... Read More
Algae also play an important role as the foundation for the aquatic food chain. All higher aquatic life forms depend either directly or indirectly on microscopic gardens of algae.
In the deepest sea, where not a single photon of sunlight ever penetrates, life persists in eternal darkness, crowded around chemical- and lava-spewing fissures in the ocean’s floor. Life around these hydrothermal vents includes shrimp, crabs, and tall, slender tubeworms.... Read More
Microbes require nutrients to grow. These are supplied by either solid or liquid culture media. The standard solid medium is nutrient agar, a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed. The basic liquid medium is nutrient broth, typically a mix of water, meat extract peptone, and sodium chlori... Read More
When microbiologists want to identify microbes in a sample or study microbes in-depth, they often try to culture, or grow, the microbial cells in their labs. The scientists can then manipulate the cells or their environments to see what effects these changes have on the organisms.
If a microbiologist is studying bacteria that bioremediate, or break down, toxic wastes and wants to know which specific genes are active when that bacterium is degrading, say, PCBs, he would likely use a tool called the DNA microarray.
Microarrays enable scientists to monitor the act... Read More
The Partnerships That Led to Higher Life
If you could peer deep into one of the many cells in your body, you’d see little blobs, squiggles, and coils. These are the cel... Read More
Lichens: When Fungi and Algae (or Cyanobacteria) Merged
Fungi feed themselves quite ably, absorbing nutrients from organic materials. Algae and cyanobacteria are also adept at providing for their own nutritional needs by turning sunlight into energy through photosynthesis.
Y... Read More
Ant Farmers and Their Gardens of Fungi
It’s not clear precisely how and why some ancestral species of ant first took up fungus farming, but scientists have determined by genetic testing that it happened about 50 million years ago.