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Genomes reveal bacterial lifestyles: Research
Date:9/7/2009

l, sampling the genomes of a small number of species should enable scientists to gain useful new insights into the dynamics of whole marine ecosystems.

"It's not practical to sample every species in a given area so the model we have described is useful for studying the collective genomes of whole marine microbial communities or metagenomes to better understand how they have evolved in specific locations," he says.

"By analysing and comparing the strategies of the dominant organisms we should have an idea of the carbon flux going through the environment which will allow us to monitor the health of the marine ecosystem, including the impact of global warming," he says. "The analysis, for example, may help us predict how marine bacteria will respond to environmental changes caused by climate change, such as oceans becoming warmer or absorbing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and becoming more acidic."

Using their new technique to analyse 124 ocean bacteria, the researchers found that bacteria adapted to low nutrients outnumber bacteria adapted to high nutrients in worldwide samples of ocean water. This has led to an under-reporting on what is known about the biodiversity and the physiological properties of the more abundant bacteria and what secrets they may reveal about life on earth.


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Contact: Rick Cavicchioli
r.cavicchioli@unsw.edu.au
61-411-390-132
University of New South Wales
Source:Eurekalert

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