Tag archives for Microbes
Dead zones are areas of the ocean that no longer have enough oxygen to support sea life. For over 20 years, a dead zone has formed in the gulf due to run off from farms. This year, researchers are worried that the dead zone may increase in size due to the oil spill in the gulf. Microbes consuming oil from the Gulf of Mexico’s BP spill use up oxygen when they die, raising the threat of an expanded dead zone. Scientists are looking at years of dead-zone data to determine whether the dangerous region grew after the spill.
Content produced by National Geographic. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation under Award # DRL-1045744
The correct answer is microbe poop! Scientists thought that the colorful deposits (like the ones in the picture above) found in lava tubes were minerals, but as it turns out, they’re really droppings from microbes living in the tubes.
Gross? Maybe, but the deposits can also be beautiful, according to scientists. Some examples are “a lovely blue-green ooze dripping out of the [cave] ceiling in Hawaii; a vein of what looks like a gold, crunchy mineral in New Mexico; and, in the Azores, amazing pink hexagons,” said Diana Northup, a geomicrobiologist at the University of New Mexico.
Find out more about the mats of microbe poop and how they might provide clues to life on Mars on National Geographic News.
Speaking of evidence, read about a birdnapper that got busted with poop on his shoes in another News Bite.
Photograph courtesy Guy Caniaux