Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Researchers capture first glimpse of important, abundant ocean microbe
by Staff Writers
Vancouver, Canada (SPX) Nov 25, 2016

An image of a diplonemid taken at sea; the cell was isolated for genomic sequencing. Image courtesy Patrick Keeling. For a larger version of this image please go here.

A rare microbe that was once thought to be insignificant has turned out to be one of the most abundant single-celled hunters in the ocean, and a team of researchers led by UBC have captured the first glimpse of these elusive predators.

Diplonemids are tiny cells that have more or less been ignored by researchers until recently when surveys of marine diversity showed they are the most abundant protozoa, a diverse group of single-celled organisms that excludes bacteria and viruses, in the ocean.

Despite their abundance, they had never been captured or observed directly in the ocean. Scientists from UBC and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) went to sea and managed to observe them for the first time.

"When a microbe is so abundant, it probably plays a very important role in the ecosystem," said Patrick Keeling, a professor of botany at UBC and director of the Integrated Microbial Biodiversity program at CIFAR.

"The microbial world is one of the last frontiers of exploration on our planet, and we're using microscopes together with genomics to learn as much as possible about this invisible life."

The team sailed from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California to a well-studied part of the ocean known as Line 67, where the water is deep yet poor in nutrients. Here they photographed organisms from deep-water samples and used technology to sequence the genomes of these single-celled organisms.

The research showed that diplonemids are a diverse group of species of many different shapes and sizes, and that they hunt both bacteria and larger algae.

"It's like discovering lions after having only seen gazelles, antelopes and zebras for so many years," said Keeling.

Diplonemids also proved to have interesting genomes that are large and full of "junk" DNA called introns that interrupt genes. Introns are found in genes of all complex cells, but the diplonemid introns are unique and appear to spread similar to how a virus copies its genetic material into other cells when it attacks.

To learn more about the ecology of these organisms and the role they play in maintaining the marine ecosystmes, the next step will be to figure out how to keep diplonemids alive in the lab, "which will now be a lot easier since we know what they look like," said Keeling.

Research paper

Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
University of British Columbia
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Marine microalgae, a new sustainable food and fuel source
Ithaca NY (SPX) Nov 22, 2016
Taken from the bottom of the marine food chain, microalgae may soon become a top-tier contender to combat global warming, climate change and food insecurity, according to a study published in the journal Oceanography (December 2016). "We may have stumbled onto the next green revolution," said Charles H. Greene, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University, and lead aut ... read more

Pentagon softens rules on carrying of firearms in US

Scientists model mass gatherings, identify the risks of large crowds

Thousands flee Myanmar clashes to China: Beijing

How to stop human-made droughts and floods before they start

NASA microthrusters achieve success on ESA's LISA Pathfinder

Sweden orders new laser simulators from Saab

Calculations predict unexpected disorder in the surface of polar materials

New clues emerge in 30-year-old superconductor mystery

Weather the storm: Improving Great Lakes modeling

Marine microalgae, a new sustainable food and fuel source

Ocean acidification study offers warnings for marine life, habitats

Answering a longstanding question: Why is the surface of ice wet?

Most meltwater in Greenland fjords likely comes from icebergs, not glaciers

NASA Nears Finish Line of Annual Study of Changing Antarctic Ice

West Antarctic glacier began retreat in the 1940s

Enhanced nitrous oxide emissions found in Arctic

Rice farming used as 'summer crop' by early Indus civilization

Riders on the waves: China's jellyfish-hauling mules a dying breed

Soybean plants with fewer leaves yield more

Precut salad promotes salmonella growth: Study

Costa Rica, Nicaragua brace for deadly Hurricane Otto

Hurricane Otto heads toward Central America, kills 3

Seismologists warn of more quakes in New Zealand

Strong 6.9 quake hits Japan, triggering Fukushima tsunami

US seeks UN arms embargo against South Sudan

Uganda nabs suspect in $120 mn fake arms deal

Africa waits and wonders on Trump's foreign policy

Mali coup leader readies for trial over massacre

The role of physical environment in the 'broken windows' theory

Scientist uses 'dinosaur crater' rocks, prehistoric teeth to track ancient humans

Genes for speech may not be limited to humans

Traumatic stress shapes the brains of boys and girls in different ways

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement