Grad student Jessica Trout-Haney’s poster at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in December got picked up by Emily Benson in a story published online at Eos. Links to the piece then spread rapidly via Twitter just before the holiday break.
The piece has an interest-grabbing lede: “Giant Balls of Bacteria Pile Up on Arctic Lake Beds, Ooze Toxin” and used one of Jess’s underwater photos to further whet interest – nice examples of science journalism!
Those giant balls are a colonial cyanobacterium called Nostoc, and are called “sea tomatoes” by the locals in Greenland, where Jess works during the northern hemisphere summer. Her dissertation will include chapters about Nostoc physiology and production of toxins, especially microcystins, as well as its landscape limnology across a gradient from the fjord to the ice sheet near Kangerlussuaq.
Stay tuned for more as Jess goes into the home stretch on her thesis…. For now, though, she’s in Antarctica – follow her on Twitter @JVTHaney to see what she’s up to down there!