Abstract: Microbes drive the chemistry
of life and affect the local climate. They make up 60% of the
Earth's biomass, yet it is estimated that less than 1% of
microbial species have been identified. Microbes play a critical
role in natural biochemical cycles. Identifying and harnessing
the unique capabilities of microbes will offer solutions to long-standing challenges
in environmental clean-up, medicine, industrial processes, agriculture and other areas.
Scientists are also starting to appreciate the role played by
microbes in global climate processes and we can expect insights
about both the biological
underpinnings of climate change and the contribution of microbes to Earth's
Our group project at the 2002 Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute involved collecting microorganisms from various water sources and comparing their DNA sequences. Our hypothesis was that because streams have free flowing water, there will be less microbial diversity in the stream. We have included a description of the methods used in our laboratory as well as activities that can be used in grades 7 through 12. Some of the lessons are adapted for classrooms lacking sophisticated lab equipment.
Hold cursor over picture for description.
Source: Tree of Life Web Project
|For More Information:
Teacher Resources-- Resources on Microbe Websites, PCR and Gel Electrophoresis Simulations, and general biological supply companies
|The NSE Benchmarks addressed by this activity include:|