Tuesday, September 05, 2006
A startling revelation about the number of different kinds of bacteria in the deep-sea raises fundamental new questions about microbial life and evolution in the oceans.
In a paper published in the USA by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal (PNAS July 31, 2006 online early edition), scientists reveal marine microbial diversity may be some 10 to 100 times more than expected, and the vast majority are previously unknown, low-abundance organisms theorized to play an important role in the marine environment as part of a "rare biosphere."
"These observations blow away all previous estimates of bacterial diversity in the ocean," says lead author Mitchell L. Sogin
Based on the open access paper Microbial diversity in the deep sea and the underexplored "rare biosphere": Abstract | Full Text