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Microbes question

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:14 pm
by kamilka_2
Hello. My name is Kamilka and I’m an 8th grader at Kent Middle School. I am currently doing a science fair project at the Corte Madera Creek, in which I am taking water samples from a place impacted by humans, compared to those that are taken where almost no humans venture. I then look at them under a microscope to see if the impacted part of the creek still has a thriving ecology. I was wondering whether you would be able to answer a few of my questions. If you could not, it would be great if you could direct me to someone who was available.

1. How do microbes affect the food chain in a creek? Who are they food for? If there was a sudden drop in the number of microbes, would the habitat suffer?

2. Do microbes have other jobs for a creek?

3. Do you have any link to a key for salt water micro organisms? If so, would you be able to give me the information?

4. In what conditions will there be a sudden drop in organisms around a creek?

If you have any other additional information, it would be greatly appreciated. Please include your full name, so that I am able to follow up with other questions.

Thank you so much for spending your time to help!

about microbes in a creek -- need more expert help

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:59 pm
by WJClancey
Hello Kamika,

You've asked several interesting research questions. Are these questions based on the results of your experiment; for example, are you trying to explain your results? I ask because each question appears like a new science project in itself.

I'm not a biologist and don't have answers to your questions ready at hand. However, I believe you'll find many references on Google to "salt water microorganisms" -- what's good will depend on how you hope to use the information.

Searching for "Creek microorganisms" on Google, I found this link which seems to directly relate to one of your questions --

Maybe there is other material at that site that could be helpful to you.

Perhaps someone else in this forum can provide additional information.


Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:07 pm
by donnyshira
Hey Kamilka. It's danyalasagne. Sorry, I don't at all understand what you're talking about. Just want to say hi. Check your twitter. :lol: :D

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:42 pm
by staryl13
Hi Kamilka!
Sounds like a really cool research topic! Check out these links- ... crobes.php
Hope these links help, good luck with your project!

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:05 am
by kamilka_2
Thank you so much! Yes I am trying to explain some of my results, because i found that the impacted samples had no microorganisms at all! Those links are very helpful. Thanks again.

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:43 pm
by ChrisG
Hi Kamilka,

Those are some challenging questions.

Microbes are incredibly diverse, so it is usually not possible to generalize about the function or population of all microbes. What sort of effects you would see from human activity depend very much on the type of activity that is taking place. For example, septic waste and other sources of nutrients may cause algal blooms. Dumping of mine waste may result in dominance of microbes that are able to oxidize sulfur and iron minerals (sulfur and iron oxidizers). Excavation of soils (naturally or by humans) can cause growth of iron reducing bacteria. In each case, the growth of one type of microbe can come at the expense or the benefit of other types of microbes.

Human activities often change the community composition of microbes, but they rarely exterminate all microbes.

Can you tell us more about your study site and the details of your procedure? Where did you collect samples, and how many samples did you collect?

Thanks for telling us about your project,