News FocusBiochemistry

High-Tech Lures Hook Into New Marine Microbes

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Science  15 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5486, pp. 1869
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5486.1869

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Two scientific teams, one of which reports its findings on page 1902, have identified large populations of bacteria that convert sunlight hitting the sea surface into energy. These two groups of bacteria, which harness light to move electrons and power cellular processes, likely help bring energy into the food chain. And that could help to explain a puzzle that has confounded researchers trying to understand marine ecosystems: how so many bacteria can survive in the open ocean, where there seems to be relatively little for them to eat.