Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microbial Transport At Yellowstone: By Land, Sea Or Air?

Date:
November 17, 2000
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Humans have a penchant for travel – driving, sailing and flying over the planet in search of new places to live. So do microbes, say researchers at the University of Illinois who have been studying microbial transport at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Humans have a penchant for travel – driving, sailing and flying over the planet in search of new places to live. So do microbes, say researchers at the University of Illinois who have been studying microbial transport at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. "Hot springs comprise a complex ecosystem of interacting microbes, geochemistry and mineralogy," said George Bonheyo, a postdoctoral researcher at the UI. "The rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate results in shifting flows, and in the sealing off of some springs and the eruption of new vents. But the source of the microbes, and the means by which they colonize new springs, has remained unknown."

To study the possible origins of microbial populations, Bonheyo and his colleagues – geologist Bruce Fouke, microbiologist Abigail Salyers and students Beth Sanzenbacher and Janki Patel, all of the UI – first collect water, rock and air samples from the hot springs environment. Then they use the sensitive polymerase chain reaction to detect the presence of microbes in the samples.

Microbes may roam the Yellowstone countryside by many means, Bonheyo said. They might raft the waters that feed the springs. They might fly on droplets of steam rising from active vents or on bits of sediment blowing from dried springs. They might even hitchhike on the feet of bison, birds or other animals moving from one spring to another.

"Where an established spring runs into a new source, the microbes may be directly transported by the runoff of the older spring," Bonheyo said. "But when a new spring erupts upstream of, or in isolation from other vents, the method of transport is not clear."

For example, during field measurements conducted earlier this year, five new springs erupted at Angel Terrace, a part of the Mammoth Hot Springs complex where the deposition of calcium carbonate occurs very rapidly. Bonheyo monitored the springs to observe the process of microbial colonization.

"This was a unique opportunity to sample water from a vent system that wasn’t actively growing bacteria before," Bonheyo said. "While we did find evidence of life in the new springs, additional work will be required to conclusively trace its origin."

The microbes may have been present in the subterranean source waters before percolating to the surface, or they may have hitched a ride on the steam arising from surrounding springs. To test the latter possibility, Bonheyo and his colleagues condensed steam from a nearby active vent on sheets of sterilized foil. In the resulting liquid, the researchers found the same microbes that live in the hot spring. "Whipped by winds, these microbes could be transported for hundreds of miles, or even globally," he said.

Bonheyo presented the team’s recent findings at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, held Nov. 9-18 in Reno, Nev. The work was sponsored by a UI Critical Research Initiatives grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Microbial Transport At Yellowstone: By Land, Sea Or Air?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001117070821.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (2000, November 17). Microbial Transport At Yellowstone: By Land, Sea Or Air?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001117070821.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Microbial Transport At Yellowstone: By Land, Sea Or Air?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001117070821.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins