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Tag: microbes

Scientists study whale's blow hole microbes with the help of a drone

Scientists study whale's blow hole microbes with the help of a drone

Science
Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Scientists have for the first time surveyed the unique community of microorganisms -- the microbiome -- living inside the blowhole of a humpback whale. They did so with the help of a six-rotor hexacopter.Researchers with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution used a custom-built drone to collect blow samples, the moist breath exhaled by whales, from 17 humpbacks off the coast of Cape Cod and from nine humpbacks swimming near Canada's Vancouver Island. The scientists sequenced the genetic material found in the blow samples to identify the microbes living in each whale's respiratory tract."We were using the drone to take aerial images of the whales, so that we could assess body conditions," NOAA researcher John Durban said in a news release. "Because of the stable flight p...
Methane-eating microbes may curb gas emissions as Antarctic ice sheets melt

Methane-eating microbes may curb gas emissions as Antarctic ice sheets melt

Science
July 31 (UPI) -- Studies have shown that as ice sheets in Antarctica melt, trapped methane gasses will be released. But new research suggests methane-eating microbes will limit gaseous emissions.When researchers analyzed water and sediment samples from Antarctica's subglacial Whillans Lake -- a first -- they determined microbes consume 99 percent of methane released into the lake.Some climate scientists have argued global warming predictions fail to account for the greenhouse gas effect of methane released by melting glaciers and permafrost, but the latest findings -- detailed this week in the journal Nature Geoscience -- suggest microbes will play a mitigating role."This is an environment that most people look at and don't think it could ever really directly impact us," Brent Christner, a...