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Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center - Florida
Deep-sea Cruises 2010 - Cruise 1
Cruise Log: 9/21/2010
In science, sometimes the coolest things you find are not what you were originally looking for!
Different nutrient sources allow different types of microbes to grow. So the trick is figuring out which nutrient sources will help bacteria found on Lophelia to grow! We have some standard nutrients we use, but it's always good to try things we haven't used before. Last year we brought some extremely different nutrient sources to see if we could get brand new organisms to grow. And lucky us, they did! However, instead of just the bacteria we had gotten previously, we also grew up two different species of fungi!
These fungi have been found associated with deep-sea sediments, so they aren't brand new to science. But this is the first time any fungi have been recovered from Lophelia! The coral colonies that the fungi were cultured from were healthy and found on two different sampling sites in the Atlantic Ocean. This suggests that the fungi weren't just randomly associated with a single coral. So the fungi may be performing an important function for the coral host.
Because of this exciting new finding from last year, we've tailored our microbiology experiments this year to focus on finding these fungi in Gulf of Mexico Lophelia. This would tell us whether the corals in the Atlantic have a unique association with fungi or whether it's common in Lophelia from both the Gulf and the Atlantic.
And of course, we're still trying to find new and exciting organisms with diverse nutrient sources! Who knows what we'll find on this cruise?
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