Microbiology Today February issue: Oceans

05 February 2019

The first 2019 issue of Microbiology Today explores microbes found throughout the world’s oceans. The five featured articles focus on a variety of micro-organisms, examining their wide-ranging roles within the marine environment and the impact they can have both in the sea and on dry land.

Amy Apprill starts off the issue with the first featured article, which explores how microbiomes can be used to monitor the impact of conservation efforts. In addition to demonstrating the importance of microbiomes in the context of currently endangered species, Amy explains how taking baseline measurements for other marine species could provide critical information for conservation efforts in the future.

Next up, Aoife Boyd outlines some of the potential dangers associated with eating shellfish and some of the ways to minimise the risks. Looking in detail at Vibrio species, she explains some of the mechanisms by which they can cause disease, and the global impact they can have on health and industry.

The third featured article in this issue is written by Mat Upton, Matthew Koch and Kerry Howell, and investigates sea sponges as a potential source of new antimicrobials. They explain how the evolutionary development of sponges deep in the ocean provide the ideal environment for diverse and rich populations of bacteria.

Following on from this, Susan Evans, Jim Birch, John A. Breier Jr, Michael Jakuba, Mak Saito and Julie Robidart’s article provides an overview of three types of autonomous vehicles used to sample a range of marine environments. They describe how these ‘ocean robots’ work and explain how they are being used to uncover previously unexplored environments. 

Elina Laanto then takes us into the world of marine viruses, looking at the vital roles they play in the ecosystems of the oceans. Highlighting their vast abundance, Elina explains some of the ways in which they affect other organisms, and how changes to the environment could impact some of these interactions.

Finally, in her Comment piece, Aditee Mitra introduces us to ‘the perfect beasts of our oceans’ – mixotrophic plankton. She explores some of their unusual characteristics, stressing how increased research into these organisms has already challenged understanding of ocean life, and how future investigations will likely continue to do so.

The issue also contains updates on our 2019 events, a Q&A with the Chair of the Irish Division, and information and advice on open access, networking and more.

View the latest issue online.