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    Holding on to Each Other for Abyssal Life (Honorable Mention)  
   

 

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Anne Dekas
Graduate Student

Sixteen panels with four aggregates of marine microorganisms collected at a natural methane seep off the coast of northern California. The microorganisms live in sediment saturated with methane and devoid of oxygen and light. Each aggregate is approximately 10 microns across and consists of sulfate-reducing bacteria (green) and methane-oxidizing archaea (red). These organisms hold on to each other for their lives, literally: their obligate metabolic partnership prevents either from living alone. Together, they consume nearly 80% of naturally produced marine methane, making them as important to human civilization as they are to each other. Red and green fluorescent tags have been attached to the organisms; DNA is stained in blue.

dekas@caltech.edu

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The 2008 Art of Science Competition was made possible by a grant from the Moore-Hufstedler Fund.
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