microorganism

03/12/2012 - 14:30

A team of scientists has documented for the first time that animals can and do consume Archaea – a type of single-celled microorganism thought to be among the most abundant life forms on Earth. Archaea that consume the greenhouse gas methane were in turn eaten by worms living at deep-sea cold seeps off Costa Rica and the West Coast of the United States. Archaea perform many key ecosystem services including being involved with nitrogen cycling, and they are known to be the main mechanism by which marine methane is kept out of the atmosphere.

02/22/2012 - 11:22

Not that long ago in a hot spring in Kamchatka, Russia, two groups of genetically indistinguishable microbes parted ways. They began evolving into different species – despite the fact that they still encountered one another in their acidic, boiling habitat and even exchanged some genes from time to time, researchers report. This is the first example of what the researchers call sympatric speciation in a microorganism.