2001 Annual Science Report

Marine Biological Laboratory Reporting  |  JUL 2000 – JUN 2001

Executive Summary

Executive Summary — MBL (dm)

The evolution and survival of Earth’s biota would not be possible without single-cell organisms. For nearly 90% of this planet’s history, microbes were the only kind of life. These organisms dominate every corner of our biosphere, and they are likely to be the only life-forms that might be encountered in other parts of our solar system if not the entire cosmos. There is only sparse information about the true diversity of microorganisms and how they orchestrate and drive key bio-geochemical cycles that shape our ever-changing planet. We are only now beginning to appreciate the tremendous diversity of microorganisms, which dwarfs animal/plant conventions. A more complete understanding of microbial diversity and evolution, descriptions of ecosystem-wide patterns of gene expression, and detailed analyses of biogeochemistry would provide a new foundation for interpreting paleontological and geological studies that describe Earth’s early history ... Continue reading.

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