Microbes are a BLAST This lesson provides students with an opportunity to explore the diversity of microbes in the marine environment.Through classification activities, students will gain an understanding of the challenges in identifying and understanding microbes. Students will use DNA sequences to identify relatedness between microbes using phylogenetic trees, then identify the role of specific microbes by searching for the presence of functional genes. A final product will allow students to communicate conclusions based on DNA evidence and research.They will be using both SeaView (software to compare genetic sequences between organisms) and BLAST (online software to search a genome for a specific function). Topics Microbes AuthorsKatie Lodes, Robyn Ehrlich, Mark Friedman Teacher ResourcesLesson PlanMicrobe Sort CardsMicrobe Personality Cards Student ResourcesBackground Reading: ‘Microbial dark matter’ mapped, Science Alert (07/13)Phylogeny ActivityEcology ActivityGene Sequence Files: 16S rRNA sequences | Functional genes Additional Resources Microbe Personality Quiz has the online personality quiz and dichotomous key Microbe Wiki Synechococcus Trichodesmium Pelagibacter ubique Cyanobacteriology at WHOI Trichodesmium Marine Synechococcus Mote Marine Labs: Trichodesmium Joint Genome Institute Trichodesmium erythraeum Synechococcus elongatus Next Generation Science Standards Crosscutting Concepts Structure and function Systems and System Models Core Ideas LS1.A: Structure and Function LS1.D: Information Processing Practices Analyzing and interpreting data Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concepts 5.B: Most of the organisms and biomass in the ocean are microbes, which are the basis of all ocean food webs. Microbes are the most important primary producers in the ocean. They have extremely fast growth rates and life cycles, and produce a huge amount of the carbon and oxygen on Earth.