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).
Authors: Katie Lodes, Robyn Ehrlich, Mark Friedman; EARTH 2013
- Lesson Plan (Word | PDF)
- Microbe Sort Cards (PowerPoint | PDF)
- Microbe Personality Cards
- Gene Sequence Files: 16S rRNA sequences | Functional genes
- Microbial Ecological Roles (Word | PDF)
- Microbe Personality Quiz has the online personality quiz and dichotomous key
- Microbe Wiki
- Cyanobacteriology at WHOI
- Mote Marine Labs: Trichodesmium
- Joint Genome Institute