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  • Writer's pictureEnid Gonzalez-Orta

A Blog Post by Adrian M.



Adrian and his purple pigment producing isolate.

As a senior biology student at Sacramento State taking Dr. Gonzalez-Orta's Diversity of Microorganisms class, I have come to the realization of the fascinating microscopic world all around us. Through hands-on projects like Tiny Earth, I've gained some appreciation for the  diversity of microbes and their vital roles in sustaining life. Studying these microscopic organisms has made me realize that we've only got the surface of understanding microbial diversity and its importance to our planet.


When we consider the diversity of life on Earth, we usually see scenes like colorful coral reefs, lush green rainforests, or the wide variety of animal species. However, there is an entire microscopic world filled with living organisms that is just as essential for the health of our planet: the world of microbes.


Microbes are found everywhere around us: in the soil under our feet, the air we breathe, and even inside our own bodies. Despite being microscopic and invisible to the naked eye, these tiny organisms play crucial roles in sustaining life on Earth. They drive essential processes like the breakdown of dead and decaying matter (decomposition), the cycling of nutrients through ecosystems, and the production of gases that make up our atmosphere.

One of the most fascinating things about the diversity of microbes is how some of them have adapted to survive and grow in extremely harsh environments. From the pressures of the deep ocean to the freezing cold of the Antarctic, there are microbes that can live in places that would be impossible for humans and most other life forms.


Furthermore, the study of microbial ecology: how microbes interact with their surroundings and other living things, is crucial for understanding the interconnections of life on Earth. Microbes form symbiotic relationships with plants and animals, where they depend on each other for survival. These microbial partnerships influence the health, growth, and even evolution of the larger organisms.


Programs like Tiny Earth allow us to develop a greater appreciation and understanding of the microscopic world of microbes. These hands-on projects can inspire the next generation of young scientists to explore the huge, largely  potential within microbial diversity.


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Three Different School Years (2017–2020). Frontiers in Microbiology.


Gupta, A., Gupta, R., & Singh, R. L. (2016, October 15). Microbes and Environment. Springer


Prosser, J. I., Bohannan, B. J. M., Curtis, T., Ellis, R. J., Firestone, M. K., Freckleton, R. P.,

Green, J. L., Green, L., Killham, K., Lennon, J. J., Osborn, A. M., Solan, M., Van Der

Gast, C. J., & Young, J. P. W. (2007, May 1). The role of ecological theory in microbial

ecology. Nature Reviews Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro1643


Shu, W., & Huang, L. N. (2021, November 9). Microbial diversity in extreme environments.

Nature Reviews Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-021-00648-y

 

 

 

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