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Microbial Diversity
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Animations

The Biofilm LifecycleThe Biofilm Lifecycle
An animated description of biofilm formation, growth, communication, and dispersal.
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The Three DomainsThe Three Domains
A cladogram comparing the three domains of life, specifically the differences between the archaea and bacteria.
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Images

Pseudomonas aeruginosa Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Colonization of P. aeruginosa on a human lung. This bacterium can cause chronic lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis.
Scanning electron micrograph of Pseudomonas aeruginosaScanning electron micrograph of Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Colonies of P. aeruginosa are often the cause of chronic lung infections in individuals suffering from cystic fibrosis.
Attached bacteriaAttached bacteria
Scanning electron micrograph of a young bacterial biofilm that formed on the lower surface of an oil slick on the Athabasca River.
Attached bacteriaAttached bacteria
Scanning electron micrograph of a young bacterial biofilm that formed on the lower surface of an oil slick on the Athabasca River.
Pipe corrosion caused by a biofilmPipe corrosion caused by a biofilm
Extracellular matrix Extracellular matrix
Bacterial cells enmeshed in extracellular matrix material, creating a biofilm
Biofilms on catheter tipsBiofilms on catheter tips
Biofilms can be a problem in medical settings where artificial materials are introduced into the human body, allowing bacteria to colonize and cause infection.
Phagocytes on a biofilmPhagocytes on a biofilm
Scanning electron micrograph of the outer surface of a Tenckhoff catheter recovered from the peritoneum of a chronic ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patient. It shows the extensive microbial biofilm that had developed and a large number of phagocytes that were attracted to this surface by the presence of sessile bacteria.
Toilet bowl biofilmToilet bowl biofilm
Experimental "reactor system" set up to study the formation of biofilm in toilets as part of an industrial-sponsored project at the CBE
Heap leach padHeap leach pad
Heap leach operations, like this one operated by Kennecott, can contain a million tons of ore, piled a leak-proof pad. Adding water on top promotes the growth of microbes and starts the bioleach.
PalaeolyngbyaPalaeolyngbya
Ancient fossilized bacterium, Palaeolyngbya, from the Bitter Springs Chert
16S ribosomal RNA16S ribosomal RNA
Secondary structure of T. thermophilus 16S rRNA, with its 5', central, 3'-major, and 3'-minor domains shaded in blue, magenta, red, and yellow, respectively.
Euprymna scolopesEuprymna scolopes
The squid Euprymna scolopes (a) and its light organ (b). The luminous bacterium Vibrio fischeri colonizes the light organ, providing camouflage to the squid.
Light organ of Euprymna scolopesLight organ of Euprymna scolopes
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
1) Double-stranded DNA in the sample is heated to generate single strands. 2) Sequence specific primers are added, which anneal to desired sites on the DNA. 3) Nucleotides and heat-tolerant DNA polymerase allow for primer extension at elevated temperature. 4) The result is two new copies of double-stranded DNA. The process is repeated to generate multiple specific dsDNA molecules.
The methane cycleThe methane cycle
Methanogens are intolerant to oxygen so they thrive in anoxic sediments. The methane they produce is a carbon and an energy source for methane oxidizers in overlaying water.
The nitrogen cycleThe nitrogen cycle
Bacteria are key to the cycling of nitrogen in ecosystems. Different species are involved in decomposition and ammonification, nitrification, denitrification, and nitrogen fixation.
The čShrub of LifeîThe "Shrub of Life"
Proposed by W. Ford Doolittle, this view of early evolution suggests multiple primitive cells as ancestors to the three domains, and illustrates lateral gene transfer among early organisms.
Terms describing varying energy and carbon sourcesTerms describing varying energy and carbon sources
A comparison of key characteristics from the three domains of lifeA comparison of key characteristics from the three domains of life
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