Small Things Considered
A blog for sharing appreciation of the width and depth of microbes and microbial activities on this planet.
Small Things Considered's Latest Posts
by Elio | The Foraminifera ("forams") are among the largest and most abundant of all unicellular organisms. They can reach 20 cm in length and 18 cm in width, and the shells surrounding them are even bigger, up to 30 cm in length. They have existed in prodigious numbers that the remnants...
Vincent, Elio, and Michele review a study of the viruses and bacteria in commensal rats in New York City.
by Gemma and Elio | This is our first ever recommendation of an article published outside the usual scientific venues, but after all the hype we have heard about the human microbiome we were delighted to finally read a balanced account of what the research tells us and what it does not tell us. Plus…
by Sean Kearney | How frequently do microbes exchange genes when living on a host? This question has been on my mind lately. Broadly speaking, the discovery of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) revolutionized the way we think about prokaryotic evolution. No more could we think only of inheritance via vertical descent — HGT made possible the transmission of traits even between distantly related species.
by Elio | The seafloor off the coast of Chile is carpeted with bacterial mats of gigantic proportions. They cover an area as large as that of the state of Alabama. Their total weight is of the order of 100 million tons, which probably makes this the largest single species microbiome on Earth. The mats consist of huge filamentous bacteria of the genus...
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