Research report 2017 - Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology
Deep-sea creatures thrive on oil – teamwork is the key to success
Wegener, Gunter; Borowski, Christian; Laso-Pérez, Raphael; Rubin-Blum, Maxim; Boetius, Antje; Dubilier, Nicole
Abteilung Symbiose, HGF-MPG Brückengruppe für Tiefsee-Ökologie und –technologie
SummaryScientists from Bremen discovered deep-sea organisms that thrive on oil as an energy source. Natural oil leakages exist on the bottom of the ocean in several thousand meters water depth. These sites harbor microorganisms that feed on the volatile compounds of the oil such as ethane, butane and propane. Diverse groups of microorganisms cooperate in teams and some specialized bacteria even live in symbiosis with marine invertebrates and feed them with the products of oil degradation. The Bremen scientists have investigated how they achieve their goal.