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Open Tree of Life Project List

Last updated about 4 years ago

This is a Collection in support of the Open Tree of Life Project.

The tree of life links all biodiversity through a shared evolutionary history. This project will produce the first online, comprehensive first-draft tree of all 1.8 million named species, accessible to both the public and scientific communities.

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    Triticum aestivum

    Bread Wheat

    Triticum aestivum|Bread Wheat|http://media.eol.org/content/2013/11/26/21/56757_130_130.jpg|Triticum aestivum, also known as common wheat or bread wheat, is an annual grass used commonly in the production of the staple food grains. The grains are then made into flour, straw or hay, or sometimes used in the production of alcoholic beverages.  In some cases, Triticum aestivum is considered to be a weed or invasive species.  In the United States, common wheat can be found in every state except for North Dakota.  Common wheat was believed to have originated in 9,000 B.C. from the hybridization of another wheat Triticum urartu and an unknown grass.  Common wheat grows best in fertile, nitrogen-rich soil and does not grow well under heat and humidity.  Tolerant of high pH, drought and disease, the common wheat can grow under less than optimal conditions for most plants.  Common wheat can grow up to four feet tall (1.2 m).  Triticum aestivum is only known in cultivation - the exact origin of the plant is still largely unknown.   As humans evolved from a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian lifestyle, studies have shown that grains also gained size and the seeds became stronger and less likely to shatter. |E

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    Mnemiopsis leidyi A. Agassiz, 1865

    Sea Walnut

    Mnemiopsis leidyi|Comb Jelly|http://media.eol.org/content/2011/11/01/20/89849_130_130.jpg|Mnemiopsis leidyi, also known as sea walnut or comb jellyfish, is a ctenophore that is native to the north and south coasts of the Americas.  The comb jellyfish was accidentally introduced to the Black Sea through ballast water, or water put in ships to make sailing more stable. Since accidental introduction of comb jellyfish to certain areas, it has destroyed local ecosystems and has continued to expand to regions of the Mediterranean. Since the comb jellyfish was introduced to the Black Sea, the region has experienced decreased biological diversity of species and a decrease in biomass, especially for some fish species where their eggs have been eaten by comb jellies. A predator of comb jellyfish as well as an invasive species and ctenophore Beroe ovata was introduced to the Black Sea, where today both the comb jellyfish and Beroe ovata populations have stabilized. The word ctenophore comes from the Latin word “ctena” meaning comb-bearer, referring to the four rows of cilia.  Comb jellyfish are not true jellyfish because they do not have stinging cells, also called nematocysts, which means that comb jellyfish cannot sting.  Rather, they are distantly related to true jellyfish.  Comb jellyfish are nearly transparent and bioluminesce at night if they are disturbed.  They can live in oxygen-poor areas and they are not dangerously affected by pollution. Comb jellyfish are filter-feeders that eat zooplankton, fish eggs and larvae.  Sea nettles are the primary predators of sea jellyfish and keep populations of comb jellyfish in check.  Comb jellyfish are hermaphroditic and can self-fertilize, but under good environmental conditions, comb jellyfish will prefer sexual reproduction and spawn, releasing thousands of eggs into the ocean for external fertilization. Under harsh environmental conditions, comb jellyfish will reproduce asexually.|E

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    Cyathea corcovadensis

    Cyathea corcovadensis|C. Corcovadensis|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/07/07/14/57017_130_130.jpg|No Description Available|E

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    Crassostrea gigas

    Miyagi Oyster

    Crassostrea gigas|Giant Oyster|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/02/08/02/08962_130_130.jpg|Crassostrea gigas, also known as Pacific oyster or giant oyster, is a mollusc native to Southeastern Asia and the marine waters of Japan.  Pacific oysters have been introduced to different areas around the world to be farmed.  They oysters have white shells with some purple streaks.  The inside of the shell is white with no other coloring.  The pacific oyster is very similar to another species under the same genus. Since pacific oysters can attach themselves to any hard surface, it makes it difficult to exclude the species in any aquatic environment.   Pacific oysters will attach themselves to any hard substrate or even to other oysters.  The organisms live in the intertidal zone of the Pacific Ocean.  Pacific oysters can change sex during their lives, usually affected by environmental factors.  Some oysters are hermaphroditic, meaning they have both female and male reproductive organs.  During the breeding season, the reproductive organs of male and female pacific oysters compose about 50 percent of their mass.  Female pacific oysters can produce up to 30 to 40 million eggs per spawning.  The larvae of pacific oysters are free-swimming until they reach a hard surface to grow on.   The two valves that enclose the oyster are unequal in size, with the lower valve being more convex and also In some marine environments, pacific oysters exclude the native marine species by limiting the food supply or available space.|E

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    Magnolia grandiflora

    Southern Magnolia

    Magnolia grandiflora|Southern Magnoloia|http://media.eol.org/content/2013/07/15/11/66552_130_130.jpg|Also called Southern Magnolia or ‘young gem”, Magnolia grandiflora is a perennial native to North America, but is also found in Great Britain where it was introduced in 1734.  The southern magnolia is located in the Midwest to southeastern part of the United States and can grow to be 60 to 80 feet high (18.2 to 24.3 meters).  The southern magnolia has white flowers and red seeds that attract birds and leaves that are elliptical in shape.  The bark of Magnolia grandiflora is smooth and grey in color. The fruit of the southern magnolia is cylindrical in shape with bright red seeds hanging from the fruit. Southern magnolias bloom white flowers about eight to ten inches in diameter (20 to 25 centimeters) in late spring, though the trees typically do not bloom until they have reached seven years of age.  Optimum seed production for the southern magnolia is around age 25. The southern magnolia is also somewhat fire resistant because of a cork layer underneath the bark that is heat resistant. Southern magnolias are commonly used in landscaping both in the United States and in Great Britain because of its beautiful flowers and resistance to fire. It is argued that the best state to grow these trees is Connecticut and Massachusetts.   Magnolia grandiflora grows best in loamy moist soils often found near swamps.|E

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    Fucus vesiculosus

    Bladder Wrack

    Fucus vesiculosus|Bladder Wrack|http://media.eol.org/content/2013/09/02/02/77834_130_130.jpg|Fucus vesiculosus, also known as bladderwrack, is a form of seaweed (or algae) found in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Baltic Sea. Fucus vesiculosus means “covered in bladders or blisters” in Latin, which refers to the small blister-like sac filled with dioxygen, or O2, which helps the seaweed stay lifted towards the surface of the water. At the base of bladderwrack is a holdfast, or root-like structure which secures the rest of the organism to the floor and keeps it from floating away. The bladderwrack uses photosynthesis to produce its own energy. Bladderwracks also have a chemical called fucoxanthin that makes photosynthesis more efficient by absorbing more sunlight. Bladderwracks have a large amount of predators since it is a primary producer, but over time the organism has evolved mechanisms to keep other organisms from consuming it. The bladderwrack provides organisms such as snails, mussels and small fish shelter. Polysaccharides, or long chains of carbohydrates, prevent the bladderwrack from being damaged by waves or the sun. However, if exposed to sun for too long, the bladderwrack will dry out. Since the bladderwrack is dioecious, each bladderwrack has both male and female parts. Each bladderwrack releases both gametes (eggs or sperm) into the ocean. The gametes will then meet and become fertilized, producing a new bladderwrack. A bladderwrack typically lives for about three years. Although bladderwrack extracts can be used for medicinal purposes, there is still no concrete evidence pointing to its success. Since bladderwrack is from the sea, it contains large amounts of iodine, which is useful for thyroid problems. However, since the amount of iodine in bladderwracks is not constant, it cannot be used effectively. Bladderwrack can also cause severe allergic reactions, and since it comes from the ocean, it may contain arsenic.|E

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    Anopheles gambiae

    African Malaria Mosquito

    Anopheles gambiae|African Malaria Mosquito|http://media.eol.org/content/2013/06/27/06/89432_130_130.jpg|Anopheles gambiae is a group of seven very closely related species of mosquito that are nearly impossible to distinguish apart from one another.   Female mosquitos are dependent on a source of blood during breeding times, and often rely on a human host to feed from.  Using their sense of smell to detect a host, females become parasitic during only the breeding period. After female mosquitos lay their eggs on the surface of water, the eggs will incubate for a period of 48 hours while breathing underwater.  Then the eggs hatch, with the organisms will then enter a larval stage where they live underwater but breathe oxygen.  Next, after the larval stage comes the pupal stage that lasts for about two days where the pupas do not move or eat as they grow into adult mosquitos.  Once a mosquito has reached adulthood, it is capable of mating immediately.   Anopheles gambiae are yellowish brown in color with a pair of wings and six legs on the thorax.  Male mosquitos have more setae, or bristles, located on their antennae than females.  Males will then use their setae to locate females for mating purposes. Bats, birds, frogs and lizards eat Anopheles gambiae. Some species in the complex Anopheles gambiae prefer water with high salt content while others prefer freshwater for breeding. This complex of mosquito is the largest species responsible for transmitting the lethal malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) to humans.  In the United States where malaria has been irradicated, Anopheles gambiae is largely considered to be just a pest.  However, in Africa, Anopheles gambiae has become a serious problem for humans because of high malaria rates. Even with just breeding females searching for human hosts, a person in Africa may be bitten between 50 to 100 times per night.|E

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    Corallina officinalis

    Coral Weed

    Corallina officinalis|Coral Weed|http://media.eol.org/content/2011/08/04/10/43058_130_130.jpg|The common coral weed, also known as Corallina officinalis, is an underwater plant commonly considered to be a weed. The common coral weed is found in Australia, Japan, South Africa, China, and along the east coast of the United States. This plant prefers to live on rocky shores, and grows abundantly from Connecticut to Maryland along the eastern coast of the United States. Common coral weed grows about 12 centimeters tall and is pinkish white in color, which is caused by the calcium carbonate deposits that give it a white coloring. Common coral weed has branches that are irregular and very stiff to the touch. The fronds of the common coral weed are oppositely branched, and the branches move flexibly through the water. Like other red seaweeds, the reproductive cycle of the common coral weed is very complex. Common coral weed reproduces sexually, with each plant having either male or female reproductive parts, but not both. After the gametes fuse, the cell settles and begins to grow within about 48 hours. After settling on a rough surface, the new plant will grow about 3.6 micrometers per day until it reaches its full growth in about 13 weeks. Though the common coral weed is a common ocean plant species, researchers are unsure how it will handle ocean acidification, which could be detrimental to the species. This plant also provides other ocean organisms a habitat, and even other seaweed species will grow on top of the common coral weed. Sea urchins will eat the common coral weed, but only if their preferred algae is not available for them to graze on. Common coral weed is also a popular ingredient in cosmetics such as eye creams and moisturizers.|E

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    Rhizopus stolonifer

    Rhizopus stolonifer|Black Bread Mold|http://media.eol.org/content/2009/07/24/05/73478_130_130.jpg|This is one of the important species in genus Rhizopus. It is recognized as black bread mold also because it generally attacks the bread and produces the black colored sporangium and spore. In fact it has the whole mycelium of black color. Rhizopus stolonifer was first established in 1818 by the (Ehthrenberg) Vuillemin. Even he was the first person to discover the genus Rhizopus. This fungus is worldwide in distribution. They are mostly saprophyte growing on various things like bread, jams, pickles, cheese, moist food stuffs, leather goods, soft fruits and vegetables. This fungus is regarded as opportunist pathogen of human being as it causes the parlous disease called zygomycosis in which fungal infection are seen in face and oropharyngeal cavity. This plant pathogen is responsible for causing disease in many vegetables and fruits and recognized as pathogen with wide host range|E

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    Lumbricus rubellus

    Red Earthworm

    Lumbricus rubellus|Red Earthworm|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/12/11/23/48908_130_130.jpg|Lumbricus rubellus is a species of earthworm native to Great Britain but found all around the world. Also known by the names red wriggler, european earthworm, and common marsh worm, these earthworms are reddish in color with deep purple at the posterior end and can reach up to 150 centimeters in length. Lumbricus rubellus feeds on organic matter and benefits the soil by helping decompose larger soil particles. Like all members of the class Oligochaeta, these worms have about 100 body segments with each segment outfitted with bristles called chaetae to help the earthworm move through the soil. To create tunnels through the soil, Lumbricus rubellus use a type of movement called peristalsis, or a series of contracting and expanding movements. Lumbricus rubellus prefers loose, moist soil with plenty of organic matter to feed upon. Lumbricus rubellus can be seen throughout all months of the year. Also like all other earthworms, Lumbricus rubellus is hermaphroditic, but since the organism cannot self-fertilize, each earthworm still requires a mate to reproduce. The egg sacs of Lumbricus rubellus are drought resistant. It takes about 90 days for Lumbricus rubellus to reach sexual maturity, and typically the number of offspring from each egg sac is very low. Though Lumbricus rubellus contributes to soil health in many areas, the earthworm may carry organisms that can spread pathogens to plants and animals by moving them through the soil. The earthworm can also contribute to removing nitrogen from the soil, which removes an essential nutrient that plants need to grow, as well as assisting with erosion. A rare plant in the great lakes region called a goblin fern, or Botrychium mormo, has decreased significantly in population, with Lumbricus rubellus suspected as the root cause. The decrease in goblin fern populations has lead to legislation being passed in the United States that makes importing Lumbricus rubellus more regulated.|E

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    Palmaria palmata

    Dulse

    Palmaria palmata|Dulse|http://media.eol.org/content/2010/03/30/05/71107_130_130.jpg|Palmaria palmata is a red algae that also goes by the name of dulse. Commonly found in Europe, North America, Japan and Korea, dulse can be found in colder water temperatures. Named for its resemblance to the palm of a hand and growing in flat blades with “finger-like” extensions, dulse ranges from deep red to purple in color. This red algae is 20 centimeters long and has only one type of chlorophyll, also known as chlorophyll a. Dulse will grow on rocks or even other organisms like mussels or other species of algae. In Northern Ireland, dulse is eaten as a snack, not unlike eating chips. At one time, it was a tradition for the red algae to be harvested and then left to dry out on walls, where it would be consumed afterwards. There is evidence that suggests that dulse has been eaten for centuries, possibly even thousands of years. Dulse is a very nutritional algae that is rich in protein and iron. Considered one of the most delectable forms of seaweed, dulse plants that are closer to the surface are usually considered better in taste. In Northern Ireland, dulse is eaten similar to the way chips are eaten. Dulse can reproduce sexually or asexually. Male plants can produce gametes called spermatia after about nine months, whereas females are fertile after only a few days. Female plants do not release gametes; instead males release spermatia, which land on female plants and become fertilized. The plant is highly intolerant of hydrocarbons and synthetic compounds. Dulse has about 34 times greater concentration of potassium than a banana.|E

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    Sphagnum fuscum

    Brown Peatmoss

    Sphagnum fuscum|Brown Peatmoss|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/05/24/02/83097_130_130.jpg|Sphagnum fuscum, also known as common brown sphagnum, is a species of peat moss that is native to boreal forests of North America.  This peat moss is typically greenish brown in color, although the small leaves can range from a light green color to light pink.  Sphagnum fuscum does not have flowers, but instead reproduces by one of two ways; Sphagnum fuscum can either release spores that eventually become new organisms, or if a piece of the moss is broken off, the broken piece will become a new organism that is genetically identical to its parent.  Preferring very cold temperatures from around freezing to below freezing, Sphagnum fuscum thrives best in bogs or wetland areas, although it can acclimate to most environments.  This moss grows in clumps, sometimes on the surface of water. These dense clumps may be so thick that they can hold up a large moose.   Since Sphagnum fuscum has large amounts of tubular capillaries that are designed to take in water, the moss can absorb more water than a sponge.  However, if the moss becomes dried out, it is very flammable and is often used as kindling by campers.  In some bog areas, Sphagnum fuscum overtakes the location, depleting its environment of nutrients.  The surface of a layer of Sphagnum fuscum is typically alive and photosynthesizing, but since the underside of the moss cannot access sunlight, the bottom of the moss is dead.   This moss is often used in agriculture; where if placed in the soil, the moss will help surrounding plants retain moisture. Sphagnum moss comprises the highest percentage of coal.  Coal is created when peat mosses become compacted over time, eventually creating coal and other fossil fuels. At one time, this moss was used for its absorbency to make baby diapers and menstrual pads.|E

  • Thalassiosira pseudonana

    Thalassiosira pseudonana|T. Pseudonana|http://media.eol.org/content/2014/01/21/14/73346_130_130.jpg|Thalassiosira pseudonana is a species of diatom, which is a group of phytoplankton, or algae. This unicellular, round organism lives in marine environments, but may have had freshwater ancestors. Thalassiosira pseudonana was the first diatom to have its genome sequenced, which it was found to have an unusually small amount of genetic material. Researchers hope that by sequencing the genome of Thalassiosira pseudonana, it will be easier to understand the interactions diatoms have with their environments. Thalassiosira pseudonana has had three name changes and is often confused for other species of diatom. Thalassiosira pseudonana has also been cloned, where cultures of the clone are still kept in labs today. Scientists chose to clone this particular species of diatom because the genome was relatively small and less complex than other diatom genomes. Diatoms are one of the smallest and diverse class of Eukaryotes. Diatoms in general are responsible for about 20 percent of the world’s primary productivity, which means that these photosynthetic organisms are responsible for producing much of the world’s food source.|E

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    Ulva lactuca

    Green Laver

    Ulva lactuca|Sea Lettuce|http://media.eol.org/content/2013/02/26/21/55526_130_130.jpg|Very similar in appearance to lettuce found on land, Ulva lactuca is a six to 24 inch wide alga that grows in flat blades. Also known as sea lettuce, Ulva lactuca grows in flat, strong sheets. Sea lettuce is a vivid green color and grows in both low and high intertidal zones. Sea lettuce, which typically attaches to a substrate via a holdfast, can survive in very choppy waters. However, if a blade of sea lettuce is removed from the holdfast, it is still capable of living and photosynthesizing by free-floating. Sea lettuce requires a large amount of moisture, and if left to dry out, the organism will turn white or black and may not survive. Sea lettuce can be used in place of normal lettuce like in salads. The blades, also known as leaves, are rich in protein, iron, and iodine. To reproduce, sea lettuce first goes through a process of meiosis, or asexual reproduction, where spores are released that eventually become male and female plants. In the second phase, male and female sea lettuce release gametes that when joined develop into a new plant in sexual reproduction. Sea lettuce is a great indicator of pollution, because the more polluted the area, the more sea lettuce there is. Since sea lettuce is an alga, the limiting nutrient that inhibits growth is nitrogen and phosphorus. Through the input of fertilizers and other pollutants that contain an abundance of nitrogen and phosphorus, sea lettuce is free to grow without being limited by lack of these nutrients. Since sea lettuce can live by free-floating on the surface of water, sunlight filtering to deeper regions of the ocean will be blocked by sea lettuce floating on the top. As a result, many plant species located in deeper ocean regions will die off because they cannot photosynthesize without sunlight.|E

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    Drosophila melanogaster

    Common Fruit Fly

    Drosophila melanogaster|Common Fruit Fly|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/06/15/04/26685_130_130.jpg|Drosophila melanogaster, also known as the common fruit fly, is a 3-millimeter long-winged insect.  Drosophila melanogaster means “black-bellied dew lover” in Latin.  The fruit fly has a lifespan of two weeks; First growing from an egg that hatches within 24 hours, spending three days as a larva, four days as a pupa, and finally molting as an adult.  The mating ritual of the fruit fly begins when a male fruit fly uses his leg to tap the female to sense whether female pheromones are present. If the male detects female pheromones, he will begin to vibrate his wings and “sing”.  “Singing” will make the female more receptive to mating and will spur the other males around the singing male to also begin courtship rituals.  The male fruit fly then mounts the female and will begin mating if the female accepts her mate.   The fruit fly is best known for its use in research, specifically in genetics and behavioral research.  Research on these insects is ideal because of their short life cycle, small size, and small genome.  One of the most prominent experiments done on fruit flies was done by Nobel laureates Edward Lewis, Christiane Nusslein-Volhard, and Eric Wieschaus. Their experiment’s goal was to discover how genes affect embryonic development on complex organisms.  The fruit fly has four pairs of chromosomes containing 14,000 genes.  In comparison, humans have about double that amount at 25,000 genes.  The genome of Drosophila melanogaster has been completely sequenced.|E

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    Anthoceros agrestis

    Field Hornwort

    Anthoceros agrestis|Field Hornwort|http://media.eol.org/content/2013/09/13/13/80280_130_130.jpg|Anthoceros agrestis, also known as field hornwort, is a plant species native to the United Kingdom, but has also been found along the east coast of the United States. This aquatic perennial is considered to be an herb and prefers living in damp fields and marshy grasslands. At one time, before plant classifications had become more sophisticated, Anthoceros agrestis and Anthoceros punctatus were commonly mistaken for one another. Anthoceros agrestis has green shoots called thalli that are frilly and circular, as well as about 3 centimeters wide. The flowers of Anthoceros agrestis are unisexual. Anthoceros agrestis has no roots because it lives in an aquatic location. |E

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    Homo sapiens

    Human

    Homo sapiens|Human|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/06/12/20/92537_130_130.jpg|Originating about 200,000 years ago, Homo sapiens derived from the latin meaning “wise man”. Also known as modern humans, Homo sapiens are closely related to chimpanzees and gorillas. The difference between earlier humans and modern humans is the lighter shape of the skull along with smaller teeth and a lighter jaw. Evolving from archaic humans in East Africa, earlier forms of modern humans are called “anatomically modern Homo sapiens.” Humans can be found in all terrestrial habitats worldwide, including Antarctica. Humans use bipedal locomotion, or walking on two feet, to move around. Humans have very large brains, about 1300 cubic centimeters, which accounts for increased mental abilities. Homo neanderthalensis, also known as neanderthals, are genetically the closest relative to humans and had a brain size slightly larger than the human brain. Humans are typically omnivores; however they also use fungal colonies such as yeast for a food source. Homo sapiens developed agriculture about 10,000 years ago. Humans have a wide variety of mating practices. The gestation period of humans is approximately 40 weeks. One of the most unique attributes of Homo sapiens is behavioral changes that separate them from other primate species, such as broad range of prey and use of tools. Neanderthals are the only species other than humans to display behavior such as marking the graves of their dead.|E

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    Burkholderia cepacia

    Burkholderia cepacia|B. Cepacia|http://media.eol.org/content/2009/11/25/03/90588_130_130.jpg|From wikipedia: "Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC), or simply Burkholderia cepacia is a group of catalase-producing, lactose-nonfermenting, Gram-negative bacteria composed of at least 17 different species, including B. cepacia, B. multivorans, B. cenocepacia, B. vietnamiensis, B. stabilis, B. ambifaria, B. dolosa, B. anthina, and B. pyrrocinia.[1] B. cepacia is an important human pathogen which most often causes pneumonia in immunocompromised individuals with underlying lung disease (such as cystic fibrosis or chronic granulomatous disease).[2] It also attacks young onion and tobacco plants, as well as displaying a remarkable ability to digest oil."|B

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    Bacteroides fragilis

    Bacteroides fragilis|B. Fragilis|http://media.eol.org/content/2009/11/25/03/54610_130_130.jpg|Bacteroides fragilis is an anaerobic gram-negative bacteria that can be commonly found in the colon and small intestines of humans and other animals. Bacteroides fragilis is gram-negative and is usually symbiotic with its host. However, if the bacteria leaves the intestines and enters a different part of the body, it can become parasitic and cause an infection. Bacteroides fragilis, when outside the intestines or colon, will begin infecting an area and paralyze leukocytes,which are used by the human body to heal an infection. Bacteroides fragilis makes up about 80 percent of bacterial infections and is curable with antibiotics. The bacteria can also produce enterotoxins, or toxins that target the intestines. Bacteroides fragilis can survive in a variety of environments, and is just as versatile as E. coli bacteria. Bacteroides fragilis produces acetic acid, iso-valeric acid and succinic acid, while competing for nutrients with other bacteria that live in the intestines. Bacteroides fragilis has also been found in patients with meningitis, and can cause abscess formations. Some strains of Bacteroides fragilis are resistant to antibiotics like penicillin. Researchers are studying the genomes of Bacteroides fragilis in order to discover a better antibiotic to treat this bacteria.|B

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    Mycoplasma hominis

    Mycoplasma hominis|M. Hominis|http://media.eol.org/content/2009/11/25/03/86136_130_130.jpg|Mycoplasma hominis is a species of bacteria in the genus Mycoplasma. Along with ureaplasmas, mycoplasmas are the smallest free-living organisms known. They have no cell wall and therefore do not Gram stain. They are often present in the vagina, but may or may not belong to the normal vaginal flora. Some evidence suggests that M. hominis may be associated with pelvic inflammatory disease.[1] This species is known to frequently colonise the genital tract of sexually active men and women. This bacterium has also been associated with post-abortal and post-partum fever. Growth of "fried egg" colonies on glucose agar medium within 24–48 hours is a characteristic of Mycoplasma hominis.|B

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    Amoeba proteus

    Amoeba proteus|Amoeba|http://media.eol.org/content/2014/01/21/15/01082_130_130.jpg|Amoeba proteus is a unicellular amoeba that lives in freshwater. Amoeba, meaning change, and proteus, meaning “sea god”. Amoeba proteus moves by using pseudopodia, or false feet. The organism expands and contracts, using its “feet” to move around. Amoeba proteus can sense light and will move away from it. When found in the wild, Amoeba proteus can often be found in the shade underneath lily pads in fresh water. This protozoan is an omnivore and consumes both smaller bacteria and plants. Amoeba proteus reproduces asexually through binary fission, the most common method, encystment, conjugation (where genetic material between two Amoeba proteus is swapped), and regeneration. Though Amoeba proteus is non-pathogenic, other amoebas may be pathogenic. Amoeba proteus can be seen with the naked eye, as it is 3 mm in diameter. Amoeba proteus and another amoeba species, Chaos carolinensis, are often mistaken for one another. The difference between the two is that Chaos carolinensis has multiple nuclei, while Amoeba proteus has only one nucleus. Amoeba proteus consumes its prey by wrapping two pseudopodia around the food source, careful not to touch the organism until there is no possible way for it to escape. Once the food source has been trapped, Amoeba proteus will release digestive enzymes into the enclosed space, effectively digesting it. One of the most interesting things about Amoeba proteus is that it has different eating mechanisms depending on what type of organism its prey is. This fact has led researchers to believe that there may be chemical sensory involved which helps Amoeba proteus locate prey. |E

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    Philodina roseola

    Common Rotifer

    Philodina roseola|Common Rotifer|http://media.eol.org/content/2013/10/05/22/27688_130_130.jpg|Philodina roseola, also known as common rotifer, is a species of microscopic freshwater rotifer. An asexual organism that has a clear, soft body, Philodina roseola can also be found in soil as well as freshwater. This species falls under the subclass Bdelloidea, which also falls under the common name “Wheeled animacules” due to the strange “revolving” appearance of the corona, or ciliated “crown” the rotifer has. Like all other members of the phylum Rotifera, Philodina roseola do not have a respiratory system or excretory system. There are no males in Philodina roseola, and all the females reproduce new embryos without fertilization. One of the most unique things about this organism is that it can survive extreme temperatures and dryness for several years by creating a cyst. This cyst is pink and encases the entire organism until environmental conditions improve. Philodina roseola has a brain and nerve cords that are connected to the brain. The corona, or “ciliated crown” assists in capturing food. The corona moves the food into the buccal tube, which also typically has cilia, which then moves to the mastax, then the intestines, and waste is released out of the anus. The entire body of Philodina roseola is larger than most Rotifera, usually spanning a body length of no longer than 1 millimeter.|E

  • 12449_88_88

    Amphimedon queenslandica

    Amphimedon queenslandica|A. Queenslandica|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/06/14/21/12449_130_130.jpg|Amphimedon queenslandica is a sponge from the phylum Porifera that is native to the great barrier reef. It was first discovered in 1998, but was first described in 2006. Amphimedon queenslandica was the first member of the phylum Porifera to have its genome completely sequenced. Amphimedon queenslandica has a larval stage and a benthic stage. It is a hermaphroditic species that fertilizes its eggs through the release of sperm into the ocean. The Amphimedon queenslandica genome is studied to understand the evolution of Metazoa and complexity of the animal genome. Amphimedon queenslandica is considered to be a primitive sponge species.|E

  • 10106_88_88

    Trichoplax adhaerens

    Placozoan

    Trichoplax adhaerens|Placozoan|http://media.eol.org/content/2011/10/06/00/68458_130_130.jpg|Trichoplax adhaerens is an early invertebrate and is considered to be one of the simplest organisms in the kingdom Animalia. What these animals eat and where they live have yet to be discovered, as this organism has never been found in its natural habitat. Trichoplax adhaerens were first discovered in 1883 inside of a laboratory aquarium. The cell body of Trichoplax adhaerens is composed of about 1000 cells with only three cell layers. Its body structure is only made up of four types of cells: cylinder cells that include cilia, gland cells, cover cells located towards the outer region of the organism that also include cilia, and fiber cells that are star-shaped and tend to stretch between the inner and outer layers of the organism. Trichoplax adhaerens is transparent, flat and round. The organism can move around via cilia or by changing its shape. Trichoplax adhaerens will eat Cryptomonas and Chlorella when kept in labs or cultures. The organism has no record of sexual reproduction, but instead will reproduce asexually through binary fission or budding. As only one of two species under the phylum Placozoan, Treptoplax reptans and Treptoplax reptans are considered the “missing link” species that may give more insight to the evolution of animals. The other species under Placozoans, Treptoplax reptans, is speculated to actually be Trichoplax adhaerens. This would technically make T. adhaerens the only species of its phylum. |E

  • 22299_88_88

    Pontosphaera huxleyi

    Pontosphaera huxleyi|coccolithophore|http://media.eol.org/content/2011/07/21/05/22299_130_130.jpg|No Description Available|E

  • 41636_88_88

    Pseudoceros dimidiatus

    Divided Flatworm

    Pseudoceros dimidiatus|Flatworm|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/08/30/20/04963_130_130.jpg|The brightly colored Pseudoceros dimidiatus is a small two to three inch long flatworm native to the great barrier reef of Australia, North Sulawesi in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Also known as the Sulawesi flatworm or divided flatworm, this organism is highly toxic and uses its bright yellow appearance to warn predators that they are dangerous. With one wide orange band that encircles the edge of the flatworm, the organism also has bright yellow and black “zebra-like” stripes. These flatworms only live for one to two years and are born sexually mature. Divided flatworms can usually can reproduce immediately after being born. Divided flatworms consume algae as well as small invertebrates like snails, crustaceans and small worms. Like all members of the phylum Platyhelminthes, divided flatworms have no circulatory system and only one gastrovascular cavity. They get oxygen by diffusing oxygen through their skin. Divided flatworms also have about 100 eyespots located in the same general region that make up one cerebral cluster of spots.|E

  • 82207_88_88

    Allomyces macrogynus (R. Emers.) R. Emers. & C. M. Wilson 1954

    Allomyces macrogynus|A. Macrogynus|http://media.eol.org/content/2011/10/10/12/82207_130_130.jpg|Allomyces macrogynus is considered to be a primitive species of fungi. A member of the class Cytridiomycetes, or Chytrids, this fungus is commonly found in tropical regions. Allomyces macrogynus cycles between sexual and asexual periods, producing asexual spores called zoospores and sexual male or female gametes. Relying on decaying organic matter for a food source, Allomyces macrogynus is also a homothallic organism, meaning it has the ability to produce male and female gametes. Allomyces macrogynus thrives in a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius (about 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and can be commonly found in pond soil.|E

  • 90665_88_88

    Plasmodium falciparum

    Falciparum Malaria Parasite

    Plasmodium falciparum| Malaria Parasite|http://media.eol.org/content/2009/11/25/03/94673_130_130.jpg|One of five malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum causes nearly 85 percent of malaria cases around the world.  P. falciparum is the most deadly and common of the five parasites.  Despite constituting the majority of malaria cases, only 30 to 40 species of Anopheles mosquitoes carry the parasite out of 400 species. Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, enlargement of the spleen or liver, mild jaundice and nausea.  If a pregnant woman becomes infected by the P. falciparum parasite and it goes untreated, the infection could result in premature birth of the baby.   Plasmodium falciparum residing in the saliva of a mosquito will enter humans when female mosquitoes seek a blood host.  Once inside the human host, the immature Plasmodium falciparum will go straight to the liver, where it will then infect liver cells. After developing into a hepatic schizont, the liver cell will burst and release more of the parasites into the bloodstream.  From there, Plasmodium falciparum will infect red blood cells and consume the insides of the cells.  At stages where large numbers of red blood cells are infected, there will likely be a fever present that can last for up to 48 hours.  The red blood cells of the human host will burst, releasing the parasite where more red blood cells will continue to become infected.  In the two-host life cycle, the mosquito, also known as a vector, will become re-infected with Plasmodium falciparum when taking blood from a vertebrate host such as a human. Plasmodium falciparum is known as an endemic because there is a steady rate of malaria cases in Africa.  Although Plasmodium falciparum is known worldwide, the number of malaria cases is not as high as the ones in Africa.  There is no “true” vaccine for malaria, although the disease can be treated and cured.  In some cases the parasite may be resistant to drugs.  Bed nets are a preventative measure against malaria, as it removes the mosquito vector from transmitting the parasite to a human host.|E

  • 83089_88_88

    Meloidogyne incognita

    Southern Root-knot Nematode

    Meloidogyne incognita|Southern Root-knot Nematode|http://media.eol.org/content/2011/08/11/14/02861_130_130.jpg|No Description Available|E

  • 90312_88_88 Eucarya Woese et al. 1990 > Tyrannosauridae Osborn 1906

    Tyrannosaurus rex

    Tyrant Lizard King

    Tyrannosaurus rex|T. Rex|http://media.eol.org/content/2011/12/15/00/66106_130_130.jpg|Tyrannosaurus rex is an extinct species of carnivorous dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period, about 100 million years ago. Tyrannosaurus rex, meaning “tyrant lizard”, has been found in North America and Asia. Fossils show that Tyrannosaurus rex was 40 feet long and reaching to about 20 feet tall. Barnum Brown discovered fossils from this monumental dinosaur in 1898. The skull of the dinosaur is very lightweight and has about 60 teeth used for tearing apart flesh, since the dinosaur was carnivorous. It is believed that since the eyes of Tyrannosaurus rex face front, rather than most other dinosaurs with eyes on the sides of their heads, eye placement makes T. rex a better hunter to judge depth and distance, essential for hunting prey. Despite T. rex's gigantic size, the dinosaur could not run faster than about 10 to 25 miles per hour. Since fossil evidence is all that remains of these magnificent giants, there is some debate as to how fast the dinosaur could go. Tyrannosaurus rex regularly shed their 60 teeth and grow new ones in their place, which is characteristic of a large predator. This trait comes in handy if they lose their teeth in a battle or while attacking prey. Holding the title of “world’s largest predator” to date, Tyrannosaurus rex was able to consume 500 pounds of meat with one bite using cone-shaped teeth designed to rip and tear into flesh. It is possible that Tyrannosaurus rex grabbed prey, but their short arms were not long enough to reach their mouths.|E

  • 68013_88_88

    Pleuronema coronatum

    Pleuronema coronatum|P. Coronatum|http://media.eol.org/content/2014/01/21/14/41895_130_130.jpg|Ciliate, 60-90 x 30-50 microns, outline elongate oval to elliptical, widest at or behind mid-body; anteriorly and posteriorly broadly rounded; ventral margin almost straight and dorsal side conspicuously convex. Dorso-ventraly about 3:2 f1attened. Pellicle rigid and slightly notched; extruomes about 4 microns long, closely arranged beneath pellicle. Cytoplasm colourless and hyaline, often containing several to many refractile globules which are mostly 3-5 microns across and located in the posterior half of the cell. Contractile vacuole small, located slightly dorsally in posterior 1/5-1/6 of the cell length (at about level of cytostome). Food vacuoles usually large, with indefinable contents (possibly bacteria). Macronucleus roundish, usually with many globular nucleoli. In some speciemens only one large, centrally located nucleolus to be observed. Single oval to spherical micronucleus closely adjacent to macronucleus. Somatic cilia about 10 microns long, about 10-15 caudal cilia about 3 times as long as somatic ones, stretching always in radial manner; cilia of buccal apparatus 20-40 microns length. Movement moderately fast, somewhat drifting and wobbly, and then motionless for short periods on detritus. About 40 somatic kinetics extending over entire length of cell, which are shortened anteriorly and form thus an inconspicuous suture, while others terminate at the apical end and compose one large bold apical plate. Caudally one cilia-free area to recognise posterior to buccal field. all kineties in anterior 2/3 of body composed of (mainly) paired basal bodies, monokinetids posterioly. Left of buccal field mostly 4-5 shortened kineties. Adoral membranelle short, anteriorly with two rows of basal bodies: membranelle 2 bipartite - one part posteriorly hook-like, anteriorly and posteriorly distinctly 2-rowed, middle portion zig-zag shaped, second part V-shaped; membranelle 3 consistmg of 3 rows of basal bodies, which are arranged densely. Paroral membrane prominent and genus characteristic, about 4/5 of cell length with its posterior end strongly curved.|E

  • 95201_88_88

    Puccinia graminis

    Wheat Rust

    Puccinia graminis|Wheat Rust|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/12/05/01/74477_130_130.jpg|No Description Available|E

  • 47738_88_88

    Saccharomyces cerevisiae Meyen ex E. C. Hansen 1883

    Baker's Yeast, Brewer's Yeast

    Saccharomyces cerevisiae|Baker's Yeast|http://media.eol.org/content/2013/11/14/21/47738_130_130.jpg|Also known as Baker’s Yeast or Brewer’s Yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a single-celled fungus that consumes sugar.  The name Saccharomyces cerevisiae even means “sugar fungus of the beer”. Baker’s yeast can 'breathe' with or without oxygen, which is also called aerobic respiration (breathing with oxygen) and anaerobic respiration (breathing without oxygen).  When baker’s yeast 'breathes' using oxygen and sugar, the yeast will release carbon dioxide, water and energy.  This is useful for making bread, hence the name baker’s yeast, because when yeast is added to dough and baked, the yeast will release the carbon dioxide gas that makes the dough rise.  When yeast is deprived of oxygen, it will take glucose and convert it into carbon dioxide gas, energy, and ethanol.  This is useful for producing alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine, because ethyl alcohol, is the form of alcohol that is used in alcoholic beverages.  Researchers are trying to make a more efficient yeast cell that produces ethanol even more efficiently, which would drive the costs of producing alcoholic beverages down. There is some production of alcohol in bread, but the ethanol is usually burn off due to the high baking temperatures. Creating alcohol in anaerobic respiration is an efficient mechanism for baker’s yeast, because not only does it allow the organism to survive in environments with or without oxygen, but the alcohol, which is deadly for many microbes, keeps a lot of microorganisms from getting too close to their food source.  This is an advantage for brewers as well, since the presence of brewer’s yeast means their beverages will not be contaminated by bacterial organisms. Baker’s yeast can reproduce through sexual or asexual reproduction.  If the environment the yeast is in has enough nutrients, the number of yeast cells can double within 100 minutes.|E

  • 99924_88_88

    Ustilago maydis

    Corn Smut

    Ustilago maydis|Corn Smut|http://media.eol.org/content/2011/11/01/19/99924_130_130.jpg|Corn smut (Ustilago maydis) is a pathogenic plant fungus that causes smut disease on maize and teosinte (Euchlena mexicana). The fungus forms galls on all above-ground parts of corn species, and is known in Mexico as huitlacoche; it is eaten, usually as a filling, in quesadillas and other tortilla-based foods, and soups.|E

  • Thermococcus sibiricus

    Thermococcus sibiricus|T. SIbiricus|NOIMAGE|Thermococcus sibiricus is a hyperthermophilic anaerobic archaeon isolated from a well of the never flooded oil-bearing Jurassic horizon of Samotlor (Western Siberia) high-temperature oil reservoir. Representatives of the Order Thermococcales are widely distributed in terrestrial and marine hydrothermal areas, as well as in deep subsurface oil reservoirs. These are coccoid organisms with a fermentative metabolism that grow on peptide, polysaccharids or sugar at the optimal temperature 80-85°C. Recently obtained genomic data, confirmed by physiological experiments revealed that T.sibiricus posesses novel, unusual for other Thermococcus species metabolic features. Indeed, in addition to proteinaceous compounds known previously to be present in oil reservoirs at limiting amounts, T.sibiricus capable of using for its growth cellulose, agarose, triacylglycerids, as well as alcanes. This data indicate the ability of T,sibiricus to metabolize the buried organic matter from the original oceanic sediments and explain its survival and proliferation over geologic time in this habitat.|A

  • Desulfurococcus mobilis

    Desulfurococcus mobilis|D. Mobilis|NOIMAGE|from microbewiki.kenyon.edu: "Desulfurococcus mobilis is an extreme thermophile, living up to temperatures of 97° C and at a pH between 2.2 and 6.5. The species ranges in size from about 0.5 microns to 10 microns, and is covered with a unique, tetragonally-arrayed surface protein which forms a mesh of cross-shaped units. It is an anaerobe and is dependent upon sulfur for respiration. D. mobilis is found in solfataric (volcanic and sulfur emitting) hot springs and is most commonly isolated under these conditions in the country of Iceland. Its ability to survive in extreme conditions makes this archaeon valuable for uses in biotechnology, since thermostable and thermoactive enzymes can be isolated from this organism, like the restriction enzyme I-Dmol. Interestingly, the first known prokaryotic rRNA intron was discovered in D. mobilis, helping to give insights on the evolutionary relationship between archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes. Further, this organism is not a known pathogen."A

  • 53145_88_88

    Phytophthora infestans

    Potato Late Blight Fungus

    Phytophthora infestans|Potato Late Blight Fungus|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/12/12/00/53145_130_130.jpg|Phytophthora infestans is a pathogen of potatoes and tomatoes and is most famous for causing the Irish potato famine from 1845 to 1860. Phytophthora infestans can migrate very easily from plant to plant through a mechanism called zoospores. After rainy periods, large amounts of water in the soil allows zoospores to travel to other potato plants. These zoospores are more commonly known as “swimming spores”. The ability for Phytophthora infestans to release zoospores allows the pathogen to take over an entire potato field in only a matter of days. The Irish potato famine of 1845 caused nearly 1 million deaths and 1.5 million Irish citizens to relocated to the United States. Potatoes were an Irish staple crop due to how filling potatoes are along with their high crop yield. Wet and cold conditions aggravated the spread of the pathogen. Before the Irish potato famine, Phytophthora infestans was not known except for parts of South America where it was eaten sometimes as a staple food. Phytophthora infestans appears on potato plant leaves as light green or grey spots that eventually grow larger and turn black, spreading to the rest of the potato plant. Phytophthora infestans is often combated in crops through the use of fungicides. This pathogen was once considered to be a fungus, however the species was reclassified as a member of the kingdom Stramenopila. There are three reasons why the Phytophthora infestans was removed from the fungal kingdom: firstly the cell walls are composed of cellulose, whereas the cell walls of fungi are composed of chitin, second, Phytophthora infestans stores its energy as starch like most plants, whereas fungi store energy as glycogen much like humans do, and thirdly, diploid filaments develop inside the nuclei of the cell, whereas with fungi have haploid filaments inside their cell nuclei.|E

  • Planctomyces limnophilus

    Planctomyces limnophilus|P. Limnophilus|NOIMAGE|From microbewiki.kenyon.edu: "Planctomyces is a marine bacterium that can be found in various habitats around the world. Planctomycetes in general are intriguing because they are the only free living bacteria known to lack peptidoglycan in their cell walls. In many cases their DNA is surrounded by a membrane similar to a eukaryotic "nuclear membrane," but evolved independently. Although no Planctomyces bacteria have been sequenced, a physical map of the circular chromosome of Planctomyces limnophilus DSM 3776 was made using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis techniques. From this it was deduced that the size of the genome is 5.204 Mb as determined by restriction enzyme digests - this is significantly larger than the 4.2 Mb that was determined by thermal renaturation methods. Relatively large genomes are thought to be necessary for adaptation to changing conditions in nutrient-poor or fluctuation environments; since the P. limnophilus was isolated from a eutrophic lake, which could be considered a demanding environment, it has been suggested that a number of the genes in its genome assist in environment adaptation (Ward-Rainey et al. 1996). Planctomyces brasiliensis was originally isolated from a hypersaline lake in Brazil, but it, as well as other species of Planctomyces, can be found in many different types of geographical regions and habitats. It has been found in freshwater, saltwater, acid bog water, cattle manure, garbage dumps, and rice paddies. Though they tend to flourish in the summer and fall back in the winter. This is partially due to the need for Planctomyces need for algae, which is not as prevelant in winter. Planctomyces and other planctomycetes are also often encountered in tissue cultures of aquatic invertebrates. Several studies of planctomycetes have included isolating Planctomyces, Pirellula, Gemmata, or related organisms from giant tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon) samples. Both the samples of the healthy prawn postlarvae and the samples of the postlarvae infected with monodon baculovirus (making them more susceptible to diseases and bacterial infections) had planctomycete populations. Planctomycetes may exist free living or associated with invertebrates in marine habitats rich with organic nutrients (Fuerst et al. 1997). |B

  • 01385_88_88

    Clostridium botulinum

    Clostridium botulinum|Botulism Bacteria|http://media.eol.org/content/2009/09/08/01/01385_130_130.jpg|Clostridium botulinum is a gram-positive bacteria that produces a nerve toxin called botulin. In the human body, the presence of this toxin causes a condition called botulism that in some cases can be fatal. Clostridium botulinum is often found in soil and water and can breathe anaerobically, meaning without the use of oxygen. Despite having preferred environmental conditions, Clostridium botulinum can survive in poor environmental conditions, such as environments with an acidic pH or high heat. This bacterium can produce spores that can withstand poor environmental conditions and remain dormant until the conditions it is surrounded in have improved. This rod-shaped bacterium has a genome that is larger than most genomes for other gram-positive bacteria. There are seven strains of Clostridium botulinum. One of the most challenging parts about preventing the contraction of botulism is that the spores are able to survive a variety of poor environmental conditions, making the spores difficult to kill. Methods like extremely high temperatures and high oxygen levels have been used to kill off Clostridium botulinum spores in food. There are five types of botulism disease: food borne, wound botulism, infant botulism, adult intestinal toxemia, and iatrogenic botulism. Iatrogenic botulism is the most rare and occurs when a researcher or lab technician contracts the bacteria spores when working on a specimen. Food borne botulism most commonly occurs when home-canned goods are produced and the substrate Clostridium botulinum was on had not been properly killed through high temperatures. The best way to avoid this form of botulism is by thoroughly cooking canned goods. Symptoms of botulism include slurred speech, paralysis, blurred vision, and muscle fatigue. If untreated, any of the five forms of botulism could be fatal. Clostridium botulinum’s botulin toxin has been used in some cases to treat involuntary muscle spasms.|B

  • 82642_88_88

    Kickxella alabastrina

    Kickxella alabastrina|K. Alabastrina|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/12/05/14/96939_130_130.jpg|No Description Available|E

  • 66109_88_88

    Rhizobium radiobacter

    Rhizobium radiobacter|Crown Gall Bacterium|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/12/05/18/19308_130_130.jpg|This is the most widely studied species in the genus. Strains of Agrobacterium are classified in three biovars based on their utilisation of different carbohydrates and other biochemical tests. The differences between biovars are determined by genes on the single circle of chromosomal DNA. Biovar differences are not particularly relevant to the pathogenicity of A. tumefaciens, except in one respect: biovar 3 is found worldwide as the pathogen of gravevines. This species causes crown gall disease of a wide range of dicotyledonous (broad-leaved) plants, especially members of the rose family such as apple, pear, peach, cherry, almond, raspberry and roses. Becazusde of the way that it infects other organisms, this bacterium has been used as a tool in plant breeding. Any desired genes, such as insecticidal toxin genes or herbicide-resistance genes, can be engineered into the bacterial DNA, and then inserted into the plant genome. This process shortens the conventional plant breeding process, and allows entirely new (non-plant) genes to be engineered into crops.|B

  • 69960_88_88

    Lactobacillus acidophilus

    Lactobacillus acidophilus|L. Acidophilus|http://media.eol.org/content/2012/06/15/21/91717_130_130.jpg|The genus Lactobacillus contains a number of phenotypically and genotypically diverse species. Lactobacilli are Gram-positive, nonsporulating rods that produce lactic acid as their primary byproduct of carbohydrate metabolism. Some species of Lactobacillus are utilized by the food industry for their ability to ferment foods, and others are recognized for their proposed probiotic benefits. Some species of lactobacilli are natural inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and vagina of humans and other mammals.|B

  • 31728_88_88

    Thermus aquaticus

    Thermus aquaticus|T. Aquaticus|http://media.eol.org/content/2011/10/06/00/31728_130_130.jpg|Thermus aquaticus is an archaean that lives in hot springs such as Yellowstone National Park. A special enzyme called Taq polymerase makes this bacterium unique, as most enzymes cannot function past 105 degrees fahrenheit. However, Taq polymerase functions at the optimal temperature of 158 degrees fahrenheit. This gram-negative, thermophilic bacterium is rod-shaped and long, almost worm-like in shape. Thermus aquaticus sometimes has flagella. Thermus aquaticus is heterotrophic in nature,meaning this organism consumes some form of organic matter and lives in temperatures too hot for photosynthesis to be possible. Though Thermus aquaticus can live in high temperatures and weakly acidic water, very small changes in salt content can drastically affect the organism, as it is sensitive to salinity. Taq polymerase is useful in medicine and technology such as DNA amplification, DNA sequencing, forensic science, and detecting AIDS. Taq is also used in something called polymerase chain reaction. Thermus aquaticus’s enzyme Taq polymerase is controversial in usage because it is often used in commercial industries.|B

  • 85678_88_88

    Streptococcus pneumoniae

    Streptococcus pneumoniae|S. Pneumoniae|http://media.eol.org/content/2009/11/25/03/85678_130_130.jpg|Streptococcus pneumoniae is a species of bacteria that is responsible for pneumonia, meningitis and bone infections. Also called pneumococcus, the most common form of pneumonia that Streptococcus pneumoniae causes is lobar pneumonia. Lobar pneumonia affects the lobes of the lungs. Discovered in 1881, this bacteria is immotile and gram-positive. Despite having a strong cell wall of peptidoglycan and a capsule for protection, Streptococcus pneumoniae is considered to be a delicate bacteria. Thriving in very mild temperature conditions, Streptococcus pneumoniae can live in the human body without causing illness or disease. Though harmless in small populations, this bacteria can become pathogenic when present in large populations. Since it is unable to move of its own accord, Streptococcus pneumoniae can be found commonly in pairs and uses small appendages called pili to adhere to the surface of things. Streptococcus pneumoniae have circular chromosomes and can reproduce very quickly. Some strains have become somewhat resistant to antibiotics, which are used to treat illnesses like pneumonia. Scientists have found that the more resistant the strain is to the antibiotic penicillin, the higher the mortality rate for people who are infected by that strain. Young children under the age of five and the elderly are more susceptible to infection and disease from this bacteria. The bacteria, which resides in the human respiratory tract, can be spread person-to-person through close contact and swapping saliva. Several strains of the Streptococcus pneumoniae genome have been mapped, however scientists are still searching for an effective vaccine. |B

  • Archaeoglobus fulgidus

    Archaeoglobus fulgidus|A. Fulgidus|NOIMAGE|Archaeoglobus fulgidus was the first sulphur-metabolizing organism to have its genome sequence determined. Growth by sulphate reduction is restricted to relatively few groups of prokaryotes; all but one of these are Eubacteria, the exception being the archaeal sulphate reducers in the Archaeoglobales. These organisms are unique in that they are only distantly related to other bacterial sulphate reducers, and because they grow at extremely high temperatures. The known Archaeoglobales are strict anaerobes, most of which are hyperthermophilic marine sulphate reducers found in hydrothermal environments. High-temperature sulphate reduction by Archaeoglobus species contributes to deep subsurface oil-well 'souring' by iron sulphide, which causes corrosion of iron and steel in oil-and gas-processing systems. Archaeoglobus fulgidus VC-16 is the type strain of the Archaeoglobales. Cells are irregular spheres with a glycoprotein envelope and monopolar flagella. Growth occurs between 60 and 95 degrees C, with optimum growth at 83 degrees C and a minimum division time of 4 hours. The organism grows organoheterotrophically using a variety of carbon and energy sources, but can grow lithoautotrophically on hydrogen, thiosulphate and carbon dioxide. We sequenced the genome of A. fulgidus strain VC-16 as an example of a sulphur-metabolizing organism and to gain further insight into the structure and content of archaeal genomes. The genome of A. fulgidus consists of a single, circular chromosome of 2,178,400 base pairs with a predicted total of 2,436 coding sequences.|A

  • Thermofilum pendens

    Thermofilum pendens|T. Pendens|NOIMAGE|from microbewiki.kenyon.edu: "Thermofilum pendens was first isolated from a solfataric hot spring in Iceland in the early 1980s by Wolfram Zillig (1,10). Since its discovery, T. pendens have also been isolated in solfatara environments, such as Yellowstone National Park (U.S.) and Vulcano Island (Italy). Thus, this archeabacteria can sustain life in a hot and slightly acidic environment making it a hyperthermophile and acidophile, or a thermoacidophile (2). Its optimum growth conditions are 85-90 degree C with a pH of 5-6 and 0.1 – 2% salinity (3, 7). However, it has been found in sites with temperature ranging from 67 -93 degree C and pH ranging from 2.8 - 7.6 (9). Being an archea, T. pendens has the ability to provide heat resistance enzymes which can be applied in biotechnology. Furthermore, T. pendens is important to the evolutionary process because it the deepest branching lineage to the Eukaryote domain (6). According to a parsimonious phylogenetic tree for 16S rRNA, T. pendens is the out-group of the Crenarchaeota making it the closest evolutionary branch to the Eurakyota domain (7,9). In addition, it is one of four Crenarchaeota species sequenced. Thus, T. pendens provide the ideal genome for comparative studies to distinguish between Thermoproteales from other Crenarchaeotes"|A

  • Sulfolobus solfataricus

    Sulfolobus solfataricus|S. Solfataricus|NOIMAGE|Description from www.sulfosys.com: "Members of the group Sulfolobales are found in solfataric fields, acidophilic mud springs and thermal active areas all around the world. Famous strains include e.g. Sulfolobus acidocaldarius from Yellowstone Nationalpark, described by T. Brock as the first hyperthermophilic microorganism (Brock et al. 1972), and Sulfolobus solfataricus strain P2, which was isolated from a solfataric field near Naples, Pisciarelli (Italy; Zillig et al. 1980). Sulfolobus strains are hyperthermophilic crenarchaea that optimally grow around 75-80°C and a pH between 2.5 - 3.5. Since Sulfolobus spp. are grown aerobically and are quite easy to cultivate in a laboratory scale, these organisms have developed into a model system for studies on different aspects of microbial adaptation to extreme environments in metabolism, DNA translation and transcription, cell division and many other cellular aspects. Membranes of Sulfolobus strains contain tetraether lipids and their content can be up to 98% of all lipids. These lipids have been found to be highly proton impermeable allowing Sulfolobus to keep an internal pH of 6.5 in an acidic surrounding (Van de Vossenberg et al. 1995; Moll & Schäfer 1988). Some Sulfolobus strains are able to oxidize iron in the presence of sulphur; however most of them can also grow heterotrophically. S. solfataricus grows on a variety of different carbon sources like trypton, various sugars or amino acids (Grogan 1989). The organism has been chosen as a model system for our study not only because the whole genome sequence information (She et al. 2001) is available, but it also harbors special metabolic features like an unusual branched Entner-Doudoroff (ED) pathway for glucose catabolism (Ahmed et al. 2005). Furthermore, the strain is attractive as genetic tools like a deletion mutant strain and a virus based vector system are available (Wagner et al. 2009)."|A

  • Thermoplasma volcanium

    Thermoplasma volcanium|T. Volcanium|NOIMAGE|Thermoplasma volcanium is an archaeon.[1] Many T. volcanium strains have been isolated from solfatara fields throughout the world. It is highly flagellated, motile, cell wall-deficient, thermoacidophilic, facultatively anaerobic and organotrophic. Its genome has been sequenced.|A

  • Ferroplasma acidiphilum

    Ferroplasma acidiphilum|F. Acidiphilum|NOIMAGE| From Microbewiki.kenyon.edu: "Ferroplasma acidiphilum is a species of an iron-oxidizing, acidophilic, chemolithoautotrophic archaea. It is non-motile as it lacks flagella [1].It lives in a metal-heavy environment containing high levels of iron and sulfur at a very acidic pH. It has been categorized as an extremophile as it grows optimally at a pH of 1.7. It was first isolated from a bioreactor pilot plant in Tula, Russia [1]. The bioreactor was used to leach gold from pyrite-ore, a chemical reaction that F. acidiphilum plays a role in. It is part of the order Thermoplasmata that contains other acidophilic genera including Picrophilus and Thermoplasma. F. acidiphilum and its sister species F. acidarmanus play a large role in geochemical cycling of iron and sulfur in very acidic, metal-heavy habitats both natural and man-made [1]. It has been found that some of its intracellular enzymes function optimally at pH levels as low as 1.7, much lower than what the actual cytoplasmic pH level of 5.6 [2]. Another recent discovery has found that F. acidiphilum is dominated by iron-centered proteins with the iron suspected to act as 'iron rivets' (detailed under Metabolism section). While the low pH cytoplasm and the iron supported protein structures could be the potential reason for its low pH tolerance, these discoveries have led to research aimed at determining how this "pH anomaly" exists and whether the 'iron rivet' protein is an ancient mechanisms possibly evolved in early earth life"|A

  • Verrucomicrobium spinosum

    Verrucomicrobium spinosum|V. Spinosum|NOIMAGE|From microbewiki.kenyon.edu: "The prosthecobacterium (having multiple appendages on its cell surface) Verrucomicrobium is an obscure bacterium found in eutrophic ponds and lakes. Verrucomicrobium spinosum are heterotrophic, Gram-negative, nonmotile bacteria with appendages called prosthecae that can be wart-like or long and extended in shape. The wart-like prosthecae are an average of 0.5 micrometers in length, and the less-common, extended prosthecae are generally up to 2 micrometers long. Some prosthecae have bundles of fimbriae extruding from their tips. V. spinosum is facultatively anaerobic and can ferment sugars without making gas as a product; however, V. spinosum can not reduce nitrate anaerobically (Prokaryotes). V. spinosum also can not grow on amino or organic acids, only sugars. V. spinosum also contains menaquinones. A related bacterium, strain VeGlc2 of the order Verrucomicrobiales, was shown to ferment glucose to acetate, propionate, succinate, and CO2 through the Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway (Janssen 1998)."|B