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USGS Microbiology Featured Topics

U.S. Geological Survey microbiology efforts span the disciplines and cover many broad research areas, including fish and wildlife health and disease, climate change, microbial ecology, public health and water quality, geomicrobiology, and ecosystem function.

USGS Microbiology Featured Topics 2009

Award Winners: Best Paper in the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health

Dr. Maureen K. Purcell (right) accepting the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health Best Paper Award from American Fisheries Society president Bill Franzin (left). Photo credit: Todd Maszaros, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, used with permission.How do species introduced into new environments adapt to disease? A recent study compared Bacterial Kidney disease resistance of introduced Chinook salmon from Lake Michigan to its progenitor stock from Washington State.  The journal article that studied these questions was recently awarded Best Paper in the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health by the American Fisheries Society (AFS).

Read the announcement in ASF’s December 2009 Fisheries publication (PDF, 4.36MB), and the award-winning journal article:

Maureen K. Purcell, Anthony L. Murray, Anna Elz, Linda K. Park, Susan V. Marcquenski, James R. Winton, Stewart W. Alcorn, Ronald J. Pascho, and Diane G. Elliott. Decreased Mortality of Lake Michigan Chinook Salmon after Bacterial Kidney Disease Challenge: Evidence for Pathogen-Driven Selection? Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 2008; 20:225-235. (online abstract of journal article)

Image caption: Dr. Maureen K. Purcell (right) accepting the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health Best Paper Award from American Fisheries Society president Bill Franzin (left). Photo credit: Todd Maszaros, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, used with permission.

Posted: December 28, 2009

Nanotechnology: Impact on Ecosystems, Impact on Life, and Impact on Industry

TEM (thin section) of a cell grown on selenite that formed internalized Se(0)USGS is involved in various aspects of nanotechnology research, including the effects of industrial nanomaterials upon ecosystems, animals, and vegetables; examining unique nanoparticles of exotic elements formed by bacteria with an eye towards industrial and scientific applications; and examining the properties of nanoparticles to better understand complex ecosystems/hydrological environments.

For samples of USGS nanotechnology research with a microbiology aspect, check out the Nanotechnology page.

Posted: November 24, 2009

Arsenic, Evolution, and Extraterrestrial Life

Mars. Photo credit: NASA's hubble space telescopeWhat might extra-terrestrial life look like? and given a lack of water and oxygen, what might it use to survive?

Arsenic-eating bacteria on Earth may hold the answers to these questions. USGS scientists, with the support of NASA, have discovered that these microbes existed on Earth much earlier than expected, when Earth was more similar to the water- and oxygen-deprived conditions of other planets.

Read about the discovery: Arsenic-eating bacteria rewrite evolutionary history

Read the latest scientific article:

Oremland, Ronald S., Saltikov, Chad W., Wolfe-Simon, Felisa and Stolz, John F. 2009. Arsenic in the Evolution of Earth and Extraterrestrial Ecosystems. Geomicrobiology Journal, 26:7, 522 — 536. DOI: 10.1080/01490450903102525 (online abstract and full text)

Posted: October 7, 2009

National Aquatic Animal Health Plan for the United States

Salmon spawning in a northwest U.S. hatchery. Photo credit: OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP) National Aquatic Animal Health Plan for the United States External link (185 KB, PDF Acrobat)

The National Aquatic Animal Health Plan (NAAHP) is now available for public review and comment. All comments received on or before October 20, 2009 will be considered. Read the full announcement from the Federal Register Online.

Posted: August 24, 2009

Learning More About a Devastating Bat Disease

Brown bats with white-nose syndrome White-Nose Syndrome: An Emerging Fungal Pathogen? USGS National Wildlife Health Center

White-Nose Syndrome, a devastating, emergent disease, affects hibernating bats and has spread from the Northeast to the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States at an alarming rate. The USGS is providing current information about the syndrome and what's being done to address it.

Posted: August 21, 2009

Bacteria in Beach Sand, and Washing Your Hands

Beach. Photo credit: NOAA What Science Says About Beach Sand and Stomach Aches, USGS Newsroom

In new research, scientists have determined that, although beach sand is a potential source of bacteria and viruses, hand rinsing may effectively reduce exposure to microbes that cause gastrointestinal illnesses.

Posted: August 14, 2009

Vaccines, Prairie Dogs, and Endangered Ferrets

Photo credit: Charlene Bessken, USFWSGet Your Shots! Eating Ouchless Vaccines Protects Prairie Dogs in the Lab Against Plague, USGS Newsroom

Visit NHWC In the News to see more news stories that mention the USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

Posted: August 7, 2009

Are We Alone?: Toxic Soup

Photo credit: NASAUSGS scientist Ronald S. Oremland will be featured on an upcoming episode of "Are We Alone?" that explores “toxic soup” or bacteriological environments here on Earth that may be similar to environments on Mars, and therefore may be indicative of places where life may have survived on the red planet.

This show premieres on the Discovery Channel, Thursday, 16 July 9 pm ET/PT.

See the video clip preview (Adobe Flash 10 required)

Posted: July 16, 2009

Largemouth Bass: Regulation of Hepcidin Expression by Estradiol and Bacterial Exposure

Largemouth bass.  Photo credit: USGS Picturing ScienceHepcidin is a putative antimicrobial peptide and iron regulatory hormone that is conserved from fish to humans. This study shows that estradiol decreases expression of hepcidin-1 and blocks the induction of hepcidin-2 expression by bacterial exposure in largemouth bass. To the author's knowledge, this is the first published report of the regulation of hepcidin expression by estradiol in fish or mammals.

Introduced Avian Diseases, Climate Change, and the Future of Hawaiian Honeycreepers

Amakihi honeycreeper. Photo credit: Dennis LaPointe, U.S. Geological Survey Exciting new research by Carter T. Atkinson and Dennis A. LaPointe about the link between climate change and the fate of endangered Hawaiian native birds.

Fish Viruses and Vaccines

Worker in laboratory. Photo credit: USGSBoth articles contain exciting new research. The first addresses viral fitness and competition within hosts and the second is an announcement of a newly developed vaccine. One of the USGS scientists, Dr. Emmenegger, has applied for and received a provisional patent for this new vaccine.

USGS Microbiology Featured Topics Archive