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2001 Annual Science Report

Marine Biological Laboratory Reporting  |  JUL 2000 – JUN 2001

Micro*scope ( -- New Internet Resources for Microbial Biodiversity

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Field Sites

Project Progress

New Internet Resources for Microbial Biodiversity (dm)

On May 20th, at the American Society for Microbiology meeting, micro*scope (an innovative web-based bioinformatics resource for microbiology) was launched. Micro*scope promotes the assembly and use of information on microbial biodiversity using the internet. This initiative was sponsored by NAI, and has been developed at the NAI (Bay Paul Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole). Micro*scope has educational and biodiversity bioinformatics dimensions. It has been made possible by the use of Biose-IT software developed in house. Educationally, micro*scope provides resources for educators and students in the form of images, text, talks, Lucid identification guides and a classification structure.

To achieve its bio-informatics objectives, micro*scope does not adopt the more usual strategy of establishing a large centralized database. Rather, it recognizes that names are the universal currency of all taxonomic information. With a database of names, micro*scope can exploit the internet to gather, collate and integrate data from different sources. As entities (species) can have more than one name, the core database has been developed to include all possible names with links to the underlying entities (species). Micro*scope contains generic names of all protists and prokaryotes. Micro*scope currently demonstrates its ability to link data throughout the internet by recovering information from a few selected web sites. Micro*scope includes approximately 3GB of information, inclusive of 1000 images, a classification with 15,000 names; and has approximately 30 contributors.

    Mitchell Sogin
    Project Investigator

    David Patterson

    Linda Amaral Zettler

    Virginia Edgcomb

    Andrew McArthur
    Research Staff

    Lorraine Olendzenski
    Doctoral Student

    Objective 2.0
    Develop and test plausible pathways by which ancient counterparts of membrane systems, proteins and nucleic acids were synthesized from simpler precursors and assembled into protocells.

    Objective 6.0
    Define how ecophysiological processes structure microbial communities, influence their adaptation and evolution, and affect their detection on other planets.