First Glimpse Of One Of Most Abundant Microbes In The Ocean Captured

Posted: Nov 23 2016, 7:58am CST | by , Updated: Nov 23 2016, 8:02am CST, in Latest Science News


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First Glimpse of One of Most Abundant Microbes in the Ocean Captured
An image of diplonemid found in the sea (Left) A device sent deep into the ocean in search of microbes (Right). Credit: The University of British Columbia

The importance of single-cellular organism was not recognized until recent surveys showed that the are commonly found organisms in the water

This microbe looks like any other single-cellular organism, but it turned out to be an extraordinary species.

The enigmatic unicellular organisms, known as Diplonemids, are one of the most abundant and possibly most prolific predators swimming across the ocean.

Diplonemids have largely overlooked by marine biologists. Thus, their potential importance was unrecognized until recent surveys of marine biodiversity showed that these microbes constitute one the most common and diverse group of unicellular eukaryotic organisms called protozoa. The group excludes bacteria and viruses.

Despite their abundance, diplonemids had never been observed directly in the ocean - until now. A combined team of researchers from University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research has been able to capture the first glimpse of the organism.

“When a microbe is so abundant, it probably plays a very important role in the ecosystem,” said Patrick Keeling, professor of botany at UBC. “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 went into the depths of eastern north Pacific Ocean to understand more about the marine biodiversity. Here researchers captured the photographs of these underwater single-celled organisms and also sequenced their genomes. Genome analysis confirmed that diplonemids are a diverse group of organisms that vary in shape and sizes and pray on both bacteria and large algae.

“This work provides an entry point to the future identification, isolation and cultivation of these elusive yet ecologically important cells.” Authors wrote in the study.

To learn more about the ecology of these sea-dwelling predators and the role they play in maintaining the marine ecosystems, researchers are trying to preserve these organisms in the lab conditions and hoping to conduct further research on them.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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