Science & Technology

Number of Microbes Living on Earth Drastically Lower Than Previously Thought

Number of Microbes Living on Earth Drastically Lower Than Previously Thought

The ground of the ocean is residence to 2.9×1029 single-celled organisms however this huge quantity, 10 million trillion microbes for each human on planet Earth, is simply 8% of the earlier estimate of  35.5×1029. Jens Kallmeyer, a geomicrobiologist and his colleagues on the College of Potsdam in Germany have created essentially the most correct mannequin of the geographical distribution of microbes within the marine sediment. They revealed their findings within the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kallmeyer states that for the final decade, scientists have had a suspicion that the sooner estimate was flawed in some method. Not too long ago, Kallmeyer and his colleagues amassed new information by drilling holes into the ocean ground to review microbes surviving on the extremes of nutrient hunger. This information was used to create international maps that might extra precisely predict the biomass hidden kilometers beneath the ocean sediment.

Number of Microbes Living on Earth Drastically Lower Than Previously Thought

The brand new calculations lower earlier estimates by 92% and cut back the quantity of all microbes on Earth by 50% to between 9.2×1029 and 31.7×1029. This large quantity implies that they nonetheless play a key position in international biogeochemical cycles. The earlier estimate was skewed as a result of it was primarily based on work performed in nutrient-rich coastal areas whereas Kallmeyer’s analysis has been in barren areas, such because the South Pacific Gyre, one of essentially the most nutrient-depleted areas within the oceans.

Whereas some assume that these new numbers are way more correct of the general image of microbial life on Earth, different geomicrobiologists, like John Parkes, assume that the quantity of microbes is on the low aspect as a result of of the difficulties related to counting small numbers of cells encrusted in sediment.

[via Nature]

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