Category Archives: scientific literature

E.O. Wilson as a Microbial Ecologist?

Cornell colleague Steve Zinder quotes Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson

“If I could do it all over again, and relive my vision in the
twenty-first century, I would be a microbial ecologist. Ten billion
bacteria live in a gram of ordinary soil, a mere pinch held between
thumb and forefinger. They represent thousands of species,
almost none of which are known to science. Into that world
I would go with the aid of modern microscopy and molecular
analysis. I would cut my way through clonal forests sprawled
across grains of sand, travel in an imagined submarine through
drops of water proportionately the size of lakes, and track predators
and prey in order to discover new life ways and alien food

from Wilson’s 1994 autobiography, quoted by Zinder and Salyers Microbial Ecology chapter in the 2005 edition of Bergey’s manual.

Zinder later pointed out a quote by Gould from a 1994 Scientific American article

This is truly the “age of bacteria” – as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.

A tradeoff between plant growth & herbivory defense

A new report in Science provides a textbook example of how plants can either be good at growing (taking advantage of nutrient resources) or be good at resisting herbivores, but not both.  The experiment was conducted by comparing growth and herbivory on 16 species of milkweed.  The article is by Mooney et al. and there is a perspectives article as well.