The Role of Bacteria in the World

By Soujanya G.

Coccolithophores (RadioLab)

Viruses, in a diamond shape, attack the coccolithophores in phytoplankton all over the ocean by going between the plates (outer shell of the coccolithophores) with their sharp points. The virus heads straight to the nucleus where it affects the DNA of the coccolithophores so that they are producing viruses instead of their own kind. The viruses come out of the coccolithophores in a stream and spread to affect other coccolithophores. As the viruses leave the coccolithophores, the infected shell crumbles and falls away. These are the white particles that are left behind. There are so many dead coccolithophores that these dead white shells can be seen from space! Coccolithophores in phytoplankton fight of viruses by committing suicide or sending chemical signals to other coccolithophores in phytoplankton to tell them to change their outer plates to scales so that the viruses does not affect them as well. The scales are an adaptation that has taken place in coccolithophores in order to fight off of the virus. The coccolithophores do not have scales all the time because the scales prevent it from growing. The coccolithophores also commit suicide or kill themselves before any virus is released from it. However, the viruses have come up with an adaptation where it holds of the coccolithophores from committing suicide as long as possible so that the most amount of viruses can be released before the coccolithophores die. The constant war between the coccolithophores and the viruses is key to our survival because as the coccolithophores comes up to the surface again they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This puff of oxygen along with the other releases from other coccolithophores is responsible for 1/2 of the world's oxygen. This is the main reason for why we need this war.

Other Types of Bacteria

Nitrosomonas

Another type of bacteria is known as Nitrosomonas. This type of bacteria is called a nitrifying bacteria. A nitrifying bacteria is a bacteria that helps aid with the process of the nitrogen cycle. Nitrosomonas bacteria, like other types of nitrifying bacteria, is found in the soil. These bacteria are abundant in ecosystems where there are a lost of plants such as forests. Nitrosomonas bacteria releases nitrogen into the soil, thus aiding the growth of the plant. Nitrogen helps with the growth of the plant/tree because it acts as a natural fertilizer for the plant or tree. This is how Nitrosomonas help the ecosystem of the forest.

Glomus Intraradices

The final type of bacteria is Glomus intraradices. They are bubble like structures in between root cells. Some of them produce spores inside the root. This type of bacteria is generally located in grasslands. It readily colonizes important species in grasslands like maize, wheat, alfalfa, rice and other key model plants. This type of bacteria is beneficial to the plant because it helps it go through developmental processes such as reproduction and photosynthesis. However, too much of this bacteria can eventually kill the plant. This type of bacteria is important to grassland because it can help aid the types of plants located in this biome.