MAR 12, 2017 2:27 PM PDT

Prochlorococcus, the Ocean's Most Abundant Photosynthesizing Microbe

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Prochlorococcus is a type of a cyanobacterium, a microbe that meets its energy needs through photosynthesis. It is estimated to be responsible for 5% of all photosynthesis occurring around the world, making it the most plentiful and the smallest photosynthesizing cell in the ocean. There are different strains of this bacterium living under many conditions in the ocean, from sunlit surfaces to darkened depths.

This organism carries an estimated 80,000 genes. That's a lot more than humans have, roughly 4 times as many. "It's a beautiful little life machine and like a superorganism," commented Penny Chisholm, an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It's got a story to tell us." She suggested that such a huge number of genes has allowed this microbe to thrive under many conditions and have a huge influence on the chemistry of the ocean.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
OCT 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA Launches $23m Toilet to Space Station
OCT 03, 2020
NASA Launches $23m Toilet to Space Station
On late October 2nd, NASA launched a spacecraft carrying 4 tonnes of cargo, including scientific equipment, food hardwar ...
OCT 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
OCT 07, 2020
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
A team of astronomers has found a lone planet the size of Earth drifting through the Milky Way. Known as a ‘rogue ...
MAR 31, 2021
Plants & Animals
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
MAR 31, 2021
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
Beachgoers are certainly not fond of jellyfish in the water, but seeing hundreds of them wash ashore is an interesting a ...
APR 07, 2021
Plants & Animals
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
APR 07, 2021
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
Parasites abound throughout the natural world. While not all of them cause the host's death, this newly discovered p ...
MAY 01, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Small Galaxies Played Key Role in Evolution of the Universe
MAY 01, 2021
Small Galaxies Played Key Role in Evolution of the Universe
Astrophysicists from the University of Minnesota have found evidence for the theory that small galaxies emitting high-en ...
JUN 04, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
JUN 04, 2021
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in California have identified 90 drugs that could be repurposed for trea ...
Loading Comments...