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  • Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 3 December 2007 Referencing Hub media

    In this video clip NIWA scientist Els Maas explains how bacteria are sampled from sediments hauled up from the sea floor using the multicorer.

    Points of interest for teachers:

    • Consider the multitude of different sampling methods that are used to collect specimens from different environments. Discuss why this is important in science and what scientists might have to consider when they interpret the data they are looking at.


    Alright this one has come from 2000 metres this morning and we’re interested to see what bacteria are in this mud and what they might do and what processes they’re involved with. Oceans, all the phytoplankton that’s in the upper layers falls down to the bottom of the oceans and then it has to be recycled so all the bacteria in the sediment break down this phytoplankton and any fish that die they break it down and try to get the nutrients out of it and then it gets recycled through biogeochemical cycles in the ocean. So we’re really interested to see if we’ve got some new bacteria down there which we think we will because we’ve never sampled this region before. The other thing that I’ll be doing back in the lab is looking at enzyme activities. Now enzymes are involved in the breakdown of carbon, some of your protein, your fats. And so we want to see how much activity is down here in the oceans because we have no idea what happens at 2000 metres and some of these large deeper sites.

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