MAR 12, 2017 02:27 PM PDT

Prochlorococcus, the Ocean's Most Abundant Photosynthesizing Microbe

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch
2 5 500

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 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JUL 21, 2018
Videos
JUL 21, 2018
The UK's First '3 Person Baby'
Mitochondria carry their own genetic material, which is only inherited from mom.
JUL 24, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 24, 2018
What is UV Photography?
Human eyes see visible light, whose wavelength ranges between 400 and 750 nanometers (nm). To visualize anything lower than 400 nm, one can resort
JUL 26, 2018
Videos
JUL 26, 2018
Most Military Deaths Are Not From Combat
Since 2006, 16,000 military service members have died while on active duty. While some were killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, 72% of those deaths o
AUG 01, 2018
Videos
AUG 01, 2018
Seasonal Affective Disorder Can Happen in the Summer
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a temporary mental condition where people feel sad or depressed because of the season and weather. It’s mos
AUG 01, 2018
Videos
AUG 01, 2018
Award-winning Images of Organoids From the Koch Institute
Every year, the Koch Institute at MIT shares some of the most stunning images produced at the research facility.
AUG 16, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
AUG 16, 2018
A-bombs Were More Powerful Than First Estimated
The atomic age gave birth to a pair of unlikely twins: onet being nuclear reactor technology that supplies us low-carbon energy and life-saving radioisotop
Loading Comments...