Zetas up close

What do these thick iron mats look like under the microscope? Here are three characteristic structures made by various iron-oxidizing bacteria that we’ve collected at Lo’ihi in the past few days.

This sample was pulled from the fluffy “veil” that sometimes coats the wall of iron oxides. The tubular sheaths are formed by the bacteria cells as they grow. In fresh live cultures, bacterial cells can be seen lined up in a row within the walls of the sheaths.

J2-671-BM2-C-2013_03_20-40x032This next sample was taken from a deeper, and most likely older section of the mat. It contains twisted stalks. In the case of stalks, we find individual cells at one end, with the stalk streaming behind like a tail.

J2-671-BM2-A-2013_03_20-40x039We call the bacteria in the next image”Y-Guys” because of the branching patterns they make. You might find us doing the y-guy dance when we come across these guys under the microscope.


Check back soon to hear more about the samples we’re collecting!

-Anna Leavitt, Bigelow

Photos: Anna Leavitt






4 thoughts on “Zetas up close

  1. Pingback: Day 12: The Emerson Lab–cassettes, cultures, and interconnections | zetahunters

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