Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome to the Adopt a Microbe from the Deep Biosphere Project Website!

This is an outreach project of the JOIDES Resolution and IODP Expedition 329!  There are many cute and cuddly microbes up for virtual 'adoption' - we hope that one of them can find a home with you!
This interactive project was designed to help raise awareness among school kids (and life-long learners!) about the wonders of ‘microbes’ (i.e. tiny organisms like bacteria that can only be seen with a microscope) living in the 'deep biosphere' of the Earth.

What is the Deep Biosphere?

In the ocean, this phrase refers to all of the places buried underneath the seafloor, including muddy and sandy sediments, the rocky oceanic crust, and all of the water circulating in and out of hydrothermal vents (which are like hot springs on the seafloor).  We know that tiny little life forms exist down there, but we don't know much about who they are and what they are doing (yet!).  We really want to find out, because although the microbes are tiny individually, combined all together we think they make up a huge fraction of life on Earth.  And considering that they live in such an extreme (for us, not to them) environment, if we learn more about how the microbes make a living there, we might figure out how life could exist in other strange places like other planets.

Ready to Adopt a Microbe? Here's Some Things You Should Know 

Microbe adoption is virtual - we will NOT be sending you real microbes in the mail!  When you visit the Adoption Center and choose, you are basically indicating that you are interested in following along with our weekly web-based activities to learn more about microbial life in the deep ocean.  Participation is totally voluntary. 

How Does Adoption Work?

(1) check out our Adoption Center to find out which microbes are up for adoption.  Please note that each microbe can be adopted by multiple persons/groups.

(2) Fill our our online Adoption Form indicating your Microbe and provide us with your information so you can receive weekly updates and possibly receive lovely microbial prizes!

(3) Visit the Adopt a Microbe website every week during the course of the project (it ends 13 December 2010) to learn about the weekly activities, watch awesome new videos, read our hilarious blogs about life in the deep biosphere, and giggle at our daily shenanigans while sailing the high seas onboard the JOIDES Resolution Expedition 329.

(4) (Almost) every Monday, we will post a new activity for you to complete (don't worry - it will be fun!).  Every Thursday, send us your creative projects. Regular participants will be win a limited edition Adopt a Microbe t-shirt or one of our other awesome prizes!

Some things you may need:

* an internet connection
* a digital still and/or video camera
* arts and crafts stuff - balloons, markers, paint, tape, glue, get the idea
* A Do-It-Yourself science fair kit to grow your own microbes - find the kit at this website:

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