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Methanococcus maripaludis is a mesophilic, methane producing member of the third Domain of life, the Archaea. Methanogens play important roles in the terminal step of anaerobic decomposition of organic matter. M. maripaludis was originally isolated from a salt marsh in South Carolina, USA. Like all methanogens, it is a stringent anaerobe. It derives energy for growth by the formation of methane gas, an important greenhouse gas, from carbon dioxide and hydrogen and uses CO2 as sole carbon source. It can also fix nitrogen. As the name implies, it has an irregular coccoid shape. Its cell wall is composed solely of a protein coat termed the S-layer. The cells are weakly motile by means of a large number of archaella, the archaeal version of flagella. They also have other surface appendages, called pili, which aid in attachment of cells to surfaces. M. maripaludis is a model for study of Archaea due to its fast growth, high plating efficiency, a completely and publicly available sequenced genome and a comprehensive set of genetic tools.