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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society


All Drains Lead to the Ocean
All Drains Lead to the Ocean
Zeiss LSM 710 Confocal Microscope
Bruce Fouke
Bruce Fouke Laboratory
Research funded by British Petroleum and the Energy Biosciences Institute

The contrasting geometric shapes in this image were formed by the boundaries between a drop of sea surface seawater from the North Sea combined with a drop of oil from deep beneath the sea floor in the North Sea. Researchers constructed an experimental test bed called the GeoBioCell to study the interactions between water, rock, microbes, and oil under high magnification. Researchers hope to develop a method to prevent oil “souring,” the contamination of oil fields by microbially-produced sulfide gas.