Background Information: Deep

Alcanivorax Borkumensis
What are microbes?
 Single celled organisms that make up the bacteria
and archaea kingdoms
 They make up a majority of the life on Earth in
terms of mass.
 They are the first living organisms to develop.
Role in Ecology
 Nearly all microbes are either decomposers or
 They play major roles in maintaining the
nitrogen and carbon cycles and decomposing
carbon based organisms
 Microbes are the oldest organism on earth specifically
3.3 billion years.
 Without them evolution would never have taken place
 The first micro-organisms were photosynthetic
Deep Sea
 Life for the microbes in the deep ocean is intense.
 Several factors in their environment are:
immense pressure, complete darkness, and
restricted by lack of chemicals and nutrients in
most places for metabolism. They are often called
“extremophiles. (living in extreme environments
(salinity, temperature, pH, pressure)
 The ocean is
separated into
multiple biospheres
or layers
 Each of these have
their own unique
 Only areas that
receive significant
light (photic zone)
have primarily been
Microbes beneath the sea floor are a new area of
reearch by C-DEBI (Center for Dark Energy and
Biological investigation)
How do scientists search for and collect
microbes beneath the sea floor?
What We Learn from Ocean Drilling
Ocean drilling has:
Confirmed the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift.
Altered our thinking about the formation of geologic hazards like
earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.
Discovered methane, in the “frozen” form of hydrates (substance
containing water), in sediments below the ocean, and confirmed that
they exist worldwide.
Discovered a vast and active biosphere of microbes living deep below
the seafloor, far deeper than scientists ever predicted life could exist.
These are unknown microbes with an estimated biomass greater than all
terrestrial life
Provided major insights into the paleoclimate record—the changes to
our global climate that have occurred over the past 100 million years
and more.
 Why are microbes so essential to all life forms in terms
of ecology and evolution? (5min)
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