The Atlantic

Each Grain of the Ocean Floor Is Home to a Diverse, Mysterious World

Researchers are just beginning to shed light on the busy microbial communities that live on the seabed.
Source: David Probandt / Andreas Ellrott / Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

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

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