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lecture01 - 20.106J Systems Microbiology Lecture 1 Prof...

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20.106J – Systems Microbiology Lecture 1 Prof. DeLong ¾ Text: Biology of Microorganisms , by Michael Madigan and John Martinko, 11 th edition. ¾ Grading based on: Problem sets (~1 every 2 weeks) 25% Midterms I 20% II 20% Final Exam 35% ¾ There will also be guest lecturers Slide of microscopic image of microorganisms: simply looking doesn’t give a lot of information. o So how do we examine them? o What constitutes microbial diversity? It has to do with what they can do with matter and energy Æ metabolism (on the other hand, diversity has more to do with tissue for higher organisms) o Why are microbes important? Æ ecology, health, engineering… Slide of biological levels from cell to ecosphere: o With microbes, we can skip the levels of tissue, organ, etc., all the way up to the levels of population and community Æ a whole chain of microorganisms are involved Slide of satellite shots of Earth showing chlorophyll from outer space: o You can see blooms of microorganisms Æ the movement of El Niño over the Pacific is visible via the changing growth of microbes. o Earth looks really different from outer space because of microbes. Microorganisms have been on Earth for about 3.8 billion years o That’s the majority of Earth’s existence as a planet. o Microbes can grow anywhere on Earth, in an astounding variety of conditions. Metabolic diversity o Microbes can eat and breathe just about anything – sulfates, nitrates, metals… (they can even eat rocks!). o From all this, they create biomass, which feeds the entire food chain.
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