Organism of the Day: Halobacterium

Ok, I think these little guys are awesome.

These are Halobacterium!

Halobacteria

Aren’t they adorable? No? Whatever. Not everything I put up here is adorable, damn it, but they can be freakin’ awesome. Halobacterium isn’t actually a species, it’s a genus, of the class Halobacteria (I know, truly confusing). AUTHOR’S NOTE:Also, I sense a theme that I keep giving you guys confusing organisms; I’ll try to stop that.

Halobacterium are of the domain Archaea. No, they are not, as their name suggests, bacteria. True, they are prokaryotes just like bacteria, however the way they replicate their DNA is actually more like a Eukaryote than a bacterium, and their cell walls have their own special composition (this applies to all Archaea). But, you have to be aware, we humans only found out that archaea weren’t bacteria very recently. So why are these guys so cool? They are part of a group called, in a rare case of Biology terms sounding awesome, Extremophiles. These are organisms that thrive in conditions that would kill almost any other organism. More specifically, they are Halophiles, “halo” meaning salt and “phile” meaning loving (Author’s Note: I freaking love salt). These guys live in extreme areas of hyper salinity, like the Dead Sea, the Great Salt Lake, and here in the salt ponds of the San Francisco Bay . They conduct photosynthesis, but not with chlorophyll, the compound used in plants and algae.  Theirs is called Bacteriorhodopsin, and it comes off as purple, leading to the trippy sights you see in places like the South San Francisco Bay, as seen below.

399px-Salt_ponds_SF_Bay_(dro!d)  Harvesting-Salt-South-San-Francisco-Bay

I don’t own these images

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Posted on September 27, 2013, in Halobacteria, Organism of the Day. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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