Navigation Links
Changing microbial dynamics in the wake of the Macondo blowout

In an article in the September issue of BioScience, Samantha Joye and colleagues describe Gulf of Mexico microbial communities in the aftermath of the 2010 Macondo blowout. The authors describe revealing population-level responses of hydrocarbon-degrading microbes to the unprecedented deepwater oil plume.

The spill provided a unique opportunity to study the responses of indigenous microbial communities to a substantial injection of hydrocarbons. Surveys of genetic identifiers within cells known as ribosomal RNA and analyses relying on modern techniques including metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and other methods revealed quickly changing population sizes and community structures. The presence of oil-degrading microbes, which was determined through the use of ribosomal RNA signatures, was found even after the dissipation of the initial plume, which provides evidence that seed populations persist and may be maintained by natural oil seepage or small accidental leaks.

Perhaps one of the most striking features of the microbial response to the blowout was the rapid formation of large flocs of marine "snow." The flocs were initially observed in the upper water column and constituted the precursors to a massive pulse of oil-derived sediment that settled near the wellhead in the weeks following the accident. The rapid movement of oil to the seafloor in the form of microbe-induced marine snow represents a previously unrecognized outcome for marine hydrocarbons that may have far-reaching implications. The authors performed laboratory simulations of marine oil snow formation and identified several possible microbial mechanisms for the formation of the snow, including the creation of mucus webs through the action of bacterial oil degraders. As a result of their findings, Joye and her colleagues call for the inclusion of marine snow in the federal oil budget, which is intended to describe the fate of discharged oil.

The authors close with a call for additional research. Further study is needed both to increase the understanding of oil-degrading microbes and to quantify the rates at which they may degrade spilled oil.


Contact: James Verdier
American Institute of Biological Sciences

Related biology news :

1. Costs for changing pollution criteria in Florida waters likely to exceed EPA estimates
2. Beating famine: Sustainable food security through land regeneration in a changing climate
3. Athletic frogs have faster-changing genomes
4. 50 years of bird poop links DDT with changing bird menus
5. University of Minnesota startup offers game-changing energy solutions that reduce CO2 emissions
6. Nitrogen pollution changing Rocky Mountain National Park vegetation, says CU-Boulder-led study
7. Deadly liver cancer may be triggered by cells changing identity, UCSF study shows
8. Back to the future: A new science for a changing planet
9. Satellite images tell tales of changing biodiversity
10. Did the changing climate shrink Europes ancient hippos?
11. Changing climate, not tourism, seems to be driving decline in chinstrap-penguin populations
Post Your Comments:
(Date:8/15/2017)...   ivWatch LLC , a medical device company focused on ... receipt of its ISO 13485 Certification, the global standard for medical ... Standardization (ISO®). ... Continuous Monitoring device for the early detection of IV infiltrations. ... "This is an important milestone for ivWatch, as ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ARMONK, N.Y. and ITHACA, N.Y. ... IBM ) and Cornell University, a leader in dairy ... combined with bioinformatics designed to help reduce the chances ... breaches. With the onset of this dairy project, Cornell ... the Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain, a ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( ... online age and identity verification solutions, announced today they ... Conference 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... and International Trade Center. Identity impacts ... and in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... LINDA, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 ... ... to upregulate any gene in its endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding ... (CRISPRa) system with small RNA guides is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., a ... Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. Nicolas ... practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in diagnostic ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are the main ... people each year. Especially those living in larger cities are affected by air pollution ... of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take action. , “I knew ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building ... corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new look is part of a ... company moves into a significant growth period. , It will also expand its service ...
Breaking Biology Technology: