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Studying microbial consortia

Asterionella formosa
Studying microbial consortia

Microbes are highly abundant, ubiquitous and the longest-evolving forms of life on Earth. This study sheds light on their versatile interactions and their combined functionality in aquatic ecosystems. The main focus of investigation was the transfer of carbon and nitrogen between photosynthetic phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria. To resolve differently-sized cells, the IMS 1280 was used to analyze 13C/12C and 15N/14N ratios in the circa 60 μm-large colony-forming diatom Asterionella formosa (lat. beautiful star). The colonizing heterotrophic bacteria were only 1–2 μm large and thus, imaged with the NanoSIMS 50L. Monochromatic images show the CN- ion counts.

Recorded on CAMECA IMS 1280 at Natural History Museum, Stockholm, Sweden and CAMECA NanoSIMS 50L at the SNSF, Stanford University, USA.
Image courtesy of I. Klawonn, A.E. Dekas, M. Whitehouse, C. Jilly Rehak. Publication currently in preparation.