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Chapter 35 : The Siren Call of the Sea

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Abstract:

The author's work focused on bacteria associated with marine animals-specifically invertebrates, including shellfish, both mollusks and crustaceans. One of the studies compared microorganisms associated with marine animals from the Rongelap and Eniwetok atolls after the atomic bomb tests. It was a fascinating study because it demonstrated concentration of radioactive elements by microorganisms, work that was confirmed by other investigators in later years and that has relevance for bioremediation in today's society—that is, microorganisms can be used to concentrate and remove radioactive elements from radioactive wastes. The author's interest in marine microbiology expanded to a curiosity about the genetics of marine microorganisms. The initial work demonstrated the presence of plasmids in marine bacteria, especially those bacteria found in harbors and coastal areas into which effluent from sewage treatment plants and industry was discharged. A major limitation to research in microbial ecology has been the inability to isolate, grow, and culture the vast majority of bacteria that are present in the environment. Researchers reported that selected human pathogens, such as , lost the ability to grow on laboratory media after incubation in oligotrophic ocean water or in seawater microcosms in the laboratory for short periods of time (less than one day to three weeks), although cell numbers, by direct microscopic counts, changed little.

Citation: Colwell R. 2000. The Siren Call of the Sea, p 269-274. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch35

Key Concept Ranking

Microbial Ecology
1.3645834
Marine Bacteria
1.105549
Vibrio cholerae
1.0416669
1.3645834
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Citation: Colwell R. 2000. The Siren Call of the Sea, p 269-274. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch35
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References

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1. Chun, J.,, A. Huq,, and R. R. Colwell. 1999. Analysis of 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer regions of Vibrio cholerae and Vibrio mimicus. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 65:22022208.
2. Colwell, R. R. 1996. Global climate and infectious disease: The cholera paradigm. Science 274:20252031.
3. Pommepuy, M.,, M. Butin,, A. Derrien,, M. Gourmelon,, R. R. Colwell,, and M. Cormier. 1996. Retention of enteropathogenicity by viable but nonculturable Escherichia coli exposed to seawater and sunlight. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62:46214626.
4. Rahman, I.,, M. Shahamat,, M. A. Chowdhury,, and R. R. Coiwell. 1996. Potential virulence of viable but nonculturable Shigella dysenteriae type 1. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62:115120.
5. Shiba, T.,, R. T. Hill,, W. L. Straube,, and R. R. Colwell. 1995. Decrease in culturability of Vibrio cholerae caused by glucose. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61:25832588.
6. Colwell, R. R. 1994. Biodiversity and release of genetically engineered organisms: A partnership of value. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 5:244246.
7. Somerville, C. C.,, and R. R. Colwell. 1993. Sequence analysis of the beta-N-acetylhexosaminidase gene of Vibrio vulnificus: evidence for a common evolutionary origin of hexosaminidases. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90:67516755.
8. Byrd, J. J.,, H. S. Xu,, and R. R. Colwell. 1991. Viable but nonculturable bacteria in drinking water. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 57:875978.
9. Leahy, J. G.,, and R. R. Colwell. 1990. Microbial degradation of hydrocarbons in the environment. Microbiol. Rev. 54:305315.
10. Roszak, D. B.,, and R. R. Colwell. 1987. Survival strategies of bacteria in the natural environment. Microbiol. Rev. 51:365379.
11. Grimes, D. J.,, R. W. Atwell,, P. R. Brayton,, L. M. Palmer,, D. M. Rollins,, D. B. Roszak,, F. L. Singleton,, M. L. Tamplin,, and R. R. Colwell. 1986. The fate of enteric pathogenic bacteria in estuarine and marine environments. Microbiol. Sci. 3:324329.
12. Colwell, R. R. 1977. Ecological aspects of microbial degradation of petroleum in the marine environment. CRC Crit. Rev. Microbiol. 5:423445.
13. Mallory, L. M.,, B. Austin,, and R. R. Colwell. 1977. Numerical taxonomy and ecology of oligotrophic bacteria isolated from the estuarine environment. Can. J. Microbiol. 23:733750.
14. Colwell, R. R. 1973. Genetic and phenetic classification of bacteria. Adv. Appl. Microbiol. 16:137175.

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