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Each Grain of the Ocean Floor Is Home to a Diverse, Mysterious World
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Sand is not as passive as you might think. Down on the ocean floor, it’s filtering seawater and, thanks to a teeming set of microbes living on it, busily processing nutrients from the constant rain of sediment drifting downward. Microbiologists have studied the tiny inhabitants of sand by analyzing bulk DNA extracted from scoops of ocean floor, but while this can give you a general list of the bugs there, it doesn’t explain how they live with each other—which ones are neighbors, which ones are competitors, which grow together, what they are up to. read more


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