Planet Earth should be called Planet Ocean instead. The oceans, not only cover most of its surface, they are the cradle of all life and modulate the atmosphere's composition and climate. Still this major global ecosystem has been largely ignored by humans except for harvesting some of their upper tropic layers, and using it as a transportation and/or recreational support. If we want to start understanding the oceans we have to understand its microbes. Although this can be said for most of the ecosystems, it is hardly ever more true than for the oceans. Even within microbes, the major role is played by the smallest picoplanktonic bacteria and their viruses. Therefore, it is essential that we develop a good understanding of such a critically important group for the global functioning of our planet. It is no trivial endeavour. Marine prokaryotes are small even for microbial standards and very reluctant to adjust to the laboratory and grow in pure culture. Still, the amount of information is continuously growing and a picture of what marine bacteria and archaea are, and what they do is starting to show. It's fuzzy and imprecise but no doubt it should clear up with time.
Within this context we have launched the new Micro-Mar: a database for dynamic representation of marine microbial biodiversity. It is an ambitious project that aims to become a virtual and interactive book of marine microbiology (although restricted to prokaryotes by now). We would like above all that it would be useful for the growing community of marine microbiologists and help in integrating all the information that is often published without being properly incorporated into the mainstream of marine microbiology. This database will be justified (like any other) to the extent that it is useful and is used. We can modify it and adjust it as demands and criticisms are raised by users. With a little help from all of you we can just succeed and maybe one day we will start to get the big picture of the oceans of microbes. [More]
This database is maintained by the Evolutionary Genomics Group at Universidad Miguel Hernández, Alicante, SPAIN. The general design and structure has been devised by Prof. Francísco Rodriguez-Valera, Jose Carlos Alba-Casado and Dr. Giuseppe D'Auria. The informatics applications were designed and developed by Ravindra Pushker.
Last modified: Fri Jul 06 21:30:16 CEST 2007