In some areas of Planet Fuego the oceans have turned to shallow basins full of white salt. Many of its life forms live in the deepest depths of the ocean to escape the harmful ultraviolet light. Microbial life on Planet Fuego exists only where molecules and cells remain organized, and energy is needed by all microorganisms to maintain organization. Every activity taking place in microbial cells involves both a shift of energy and a measurable loss of energy. The transfer of energy in living systems is never completely efficient. For this reason, considerably more energy must be taken into the system than is necessary to simply carry out the actions of microbial life. In the microlife lab, you will see different bacterial cultures that use different methods to acquire energy.
The depletion of the ozone layer in Planet Fuego, and the resulting global warming have diminished the large collection of the widely diverse environments in which living things manage to grow and survive. Many organisms living in the sea feed on bacteria that has forgone the use of light for energy production. The energy production through photosynthesis has decreased. Many organisms have adapted to living deep underwater or under ground to escape the ultraviolet light of the sun. These organisms depend more on chemosynthesis for energy production rather than photosynthesis. Through the chemosynthetic process, hydrogen sulfide is converted into food source and energy.
Under the sunless sea bacteria is at the bottom of the food chain. Odd-looking creatures survive by eating bacteria that convert sulfur into energy. Other creatures harbor bacteria in their bodies, or eat bacteria-eaters. Sulfur bacteria use sulfur or sulfur-compounds as electron acceptors in their metabolism. These bacteria produce large amounts of hydrogen sulfide during their growth, and therefore, they produce foul odors in water and mud.
These Gliding bacteria are able to move by gliding in a layer of slime, which they produce. Wavelike contractions of the outer membranes help the bacteria propel themselves. Members of the group include species of Cytophaga and Simonsiella. Two important genera of gliding bacteria are Beggiatoa and Thiothrix. These species break down hydrogen sulfide to release sulfur in the form of sulfur granules.
These bacteria are called the Extreme Thermophiles. This type of bacteria species lives at extremely high temperatures, such as hydrothermal vent systems in the deep sea. Bacteria species of this type are associated with extremely acid environments. Many depend on sulfur for their metabolism, and many produce sulfuric acid as an end-product to obtain energy.
These Sheathed bacteria are filamentous bacteria with cell walls enclosed in a sheath of polysaccharides and lipoproteins. The sheath assists attachment mechanisms and imparts protection to the bacteria.