(October is Here–Bloody, Ruddy, Muddy, and More!)
Aesthetics and microbes: check out the following snaps* to see microbial communities in nature!
Antarctica’s Blood Falls, located at the tip of Taylor Glacier spurts a rusty curtain of briny water rich in iron-oxide. Autotrophic microbes (these fellows obtain energy from inorganic substances) live in this frigid, anaerobic environment. The microbes metabolize the ferrous and sulfate ions present in the water.
One of the quintessential Yellowstone National Park landmarks, Morning Glory pool awes millions of visitors each year. The hot spring contains beautiful, blue, gold, and purple tones thanks to the thermophilic* microbes that live in the 69.8 °C/157.6 °F waters. Unfortunately, the trash, coins, and other mementos tossed by tourists have blocked some of the thermal vents. This blockage lowers the temperature of the pool allowing brown/yellow bacteria that survive in cooler temperatures to thrive, diminishing MG’s original brilliant colors.
Female Anglerfish (Lophius piscatorius) have a ‘fishing rod’ apparatus on the top of their head. At the end of the rod is a short bulb-like structure, filled with bioluminescent bacteria (typically Vibrio or Photobacteria). The glowing bacteria lure prey: deep-sea dining made possible by microbes! Male anglerfish are much smaller and lack the rod/bait structure. In order to survive, the male anglerfish becomes a parasitic partner. The male latches onto a female anglerfish-permanently-his internal organs and eyeballs eventually atrophy as the male fuses to his mate!
*snaps a Skope term meaning, an informative, short blog+photo note
**organisms that thrive in very hot temperatures (45-800C)