Microbe Important In Ocean Ecosystem Viewed For The First Time

By Rodney Rafols , Nov 23, 2016 06:49 AM EST

Life on Earth is much more complex than what most people believe. Much of life is interdependent on one another. Even the smallest of microbes play a role. A microbe that is important in the ocean ecosystem has been viewed for the first time, which could provide a clue as to how marine life works.

A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia has shown what diplonemids look like. These single celled organisms have been overlooked, until they have been realized to be the most abundant organisms in the ocean. Because they have been largely overlooked, no image of the organism has ever been taken.

That is about to change as the team from the University of British Columbia together with scientists from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) viewed them for the first time. Patrick Keeling, a professor of Botany at the University of British Columbia and the director of the Integrated Microbial Diversity program at CIFAR said that the organism must be important to the ocean's ecosystem to be that abundant. The organisms can survive even in places that have little nutrient.

The team set out from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California towards Line 67, an area that has been much studied yet has poor nutrients for organisms, as UBC News reports. The team photographed the organisms that can be found in the area. They also sequenced the genome structure of the organisms there.

Diplonemids are found to have organisms that have different shapes and sizes. They feed on bacteria as well as algae, according to Phys Org. The diplonemids are also interesting since they have DNA called introns. This DNA could be found in all complex cells, though in the case of diplonemids they are unique since they replicate in the same way that viruses do.

Knowing how to keep diplonemids alive in labs would be the next step, Keeling said. This is so that the organisms can be studied further. Microbe important in the ocean ecosystem has been viewed for the first time, which would help scientists understand better how the ocean's marine life works. Earlier a new species of blind fishes has been found.

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