Chemosynthetic bacteria may be one of the oldest life forms on Earth.
The classic Winogradsky column --developed long before hydrothermal vent ecosystems were discovered -- provides an excellent illustration of bacterial growth and succession.
Beggiatoa is among the bacteria found in the deep-sea hydrothermal vent environment, but it is not the only bacteria to take advantage of this chemosynthetic process.
In this activity, students will grow and observe succession and chemosynthesis of bacterial colonies: one lighted, the other in the dark.
Hydrogen sulfide will be identifiable by its distinctive odor.
about 60% of radioactivity is found in phosphorylated compounds characteristic for the reductive pentose phosphate cycle.
High temperatures and high concentrations of dissolved minerals in seawater form compounds such as hydrogen sulfide.
In a biochemical process, bacteria oxidize hydrogen sulfide and use the liberated energy to produce carbohydrates (i.e., stored chemical energy).
If it is not completely black let the mud sit for awhile in a jar to blacken.
Before the experiment begins, give students a tutorial on what to look for in their cylinders.