From the soil in your backyard to the deepest trenches of the ocean, microbes are everywhere. Microorganisms are the most abundant organisms on this planet. Recently, researchers estimated that there may be 1 trillion microbial species and only about 10,000 of those have been grown in a lab .
The word prokaryote means “before kernel” meaning “before nucleus.” A prokaryotic organism is a single-celled organism without a nucleus or nuclear membrane. These include the domains Archaea and Bacteria. The word eukaryote means “true kernel” meaning “true nucleus.” Eukaryotic organisms have a membrane bound nucleus and membrane bound organelles.
For the purpose of this research we will be sticking to learning about eukaryotic organisms. The prokaryotes are fascinating in their own right, but they reproduce through something called “binary fission,” which means they split in half and it’s very hard to compare their aging process to ours.
Take a tour of some of the longest-lived microorganisms and let me know if you see any mistakes or missing species. I’d love to add to this page. These microorganisms are here not so much because they are super tiny, but they must be studied with a microscope.
- “Researchers find that Earth may be home to 1 trillion” species” http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=138446