Microbial Frontiers

Confocal image of Mesodinium rubrum

Although microorganisms are the most abundant life form on earth and they drive the planet's major biogeochemical cycles, less than one percent have been cultured or characterized. Research in this area is deepening understanding about the importance, diversity, and function of microbes in oceans and natural water sediments, as well as about the organisms--including humans--who are exposed to microbes in these waters. Applications of this research may include novel drugs for the treatment of a broad range of diseases, improved efficiency of microbial cleanup of hazardous wastes and superfund sites, new knowledge about microbial-mediated impacts of climate on fisheries and on ocean and land ecosystems, and means of protecting shellfish and humans from emerging pathogens.



Michiko Nakano