A scientific discovery often starts with a chance observation made by open minds who realize its potential.
A scientific discovery often starts with a chance observation made by open minds who realize its potential. This happens over and over again in the MBL’s Advanced Research Training courses.
In 2014, students and faculty in the MBL’s Microbial Diversity course made such a serendipitous observation. A team followed up on it in the coming years and last week, published their insights in the journal Environmental Microbiome.
The story started at Trunk River lagoon, near the Shining Sea Bike Path in Falmouth, Mass., which for decades has been a “natural laboratory” for the Microbial Diversity course along with other local field sites, such as Sippewissett Marsh. (The course, established at MBL in 1971 by Holger Jannasch, will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year).
“A few days after we had waded through the shallow section of Trunk River lagoon, our footprints turned yellow,” says senior author Emil Ruff, a course teaching assistant in 2014-15 and now a scientist at the MBL.
Read more at Marine Biological Laboratory
Image: A MBL Microbial Diversity course student sampling at Trunk River lagoon, Falmouth, Mass. The yellow patch at left is a natural bloom of sulfide-oxidizing phototrophs. (Credit: Elise Cowley)