Bacterial Conversion of CO2 to Lipids: A Sustainable Fuel Source

by Sam Zuniga-Levy ’19 As fossil fuel reserves decline while atmospheric CO2 levels rise, the search for methods of obtaining sustainable sources of energy continually attracts the spotlight. The two primary criteria for assessing the sustainability of fuels are that they 1) are renewable and 2) produce minimal (if any) greenhouse gas emissions. A recent … Read moreBacterial Conversion of CO2 to Lipids: A Sustainable Fuel Source

“Wolf Pack” and “Vampire” Bacteria: The Secret Life of Predatory Microbes

By Hannah Steinberg ’16 Have you ever wondered what bacteria eat? The answer to this question is as diverse as the bacterial kingdom itself. Bacterial species absorb nutrients from their surrounding environments. Many microbes that live in the ground get what they need to survive from organic molecules found in the soil, and the commensal … Read more“Wolf Pack” and “Vampire” Bacteria: The Secret Life of Predatory Microbes

Yellowstone: Life, Literature, and the Persuit of Thermophiles

During one hot summer a little more than a century ago, the Great Fire of 1910 ripped through and burned over 3 million acres in Montana and Idaho, killing 86 people in its path. Mixed with humans’ natural aversion toward large fires, the Great Fire fueled the ideology that all forest fires in the West … Read moreYellowstone: Life, Literature, and the Persuit of Thermophiles

Sediment Below the Evaporite

We are Alexa Boesel, Oliver Goodman, and Fred Cohan from Wesleyan University, and here is our next story for Invisible Life! These are exhilarating days for the discovery of bacterial diversity, much like an earlier golden age of biological discovery two centuries ago. In the early 1800’s, European naturalists traveled the globe in search of … Read moreSediment Below the Evaporite

Rosickyite

Invisible Life: Life on Mars We are Alexa Boesel, Oliver Goodman, and Fred Cohan from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and here is our next story for Invisible Life. About 34 million miles away from Death Valley National Park roams the Mars Rover Opportunity in search of any indications of life. If there is life on … Read moreRosickyite

A Sampling of Plague Throughout Time

By Hannah Steinberg ’16 On Halloween day the number one trending topic on Facebook was “Crook County, Oregon: Teenage Girl Diagnosed With Bubonic Plague.” What is scarier and more holiday-appropriate than this? A young girl in the year 2015 contracted one of history’s deadliest diseases. A bacterium that wiped out a third to half of … Read moreA Sampling of Plague Throughout Time

North and South Facing Ecosystems

We’re Alexa Boesel and Fred Cohan with our next posting of Invisible Life. Today’s posting comes out of Fred’s research in Death Valley. Fred and his students and collaborators were interested in how environmental differences that seem subtle to us might have a huge impact on the bacteria that can grow there. Their study site … Read moreNorth and South Facing Ecosystems