Pomona College Professor of Biology E.J. Crane, Danny Lawrence '11 and Maria Prokopenko, visiting scholar at Pomona and USC earth sciences and geology research assistant professor, are co-authors of an article released Aug. 8 in the international science journal Nature. Prokopenko is the lead author. This article examines the symbiosis between two types of microorganisms — Thioploca and annamox bacteria, living in oxygen-free marine sediments. This symbiosis, in the form of a chemical partnership, where anammox lives off the metabolites of Thioploca, leads to changes in the chemistry of sea water, acting as a "natural waste treatment plant," by removing biologically available nitrogen, the important nutrient for algae, from the sea water. Lawrence, working with Crane, contributed an important component to this truly multidisciplinary effort, by characterizing the phylogeny of anammox bacteria, associated with Thioploca.
For the full article, visit: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v500/n7461/full/nature12365.html.