Hands-On Science

The City from the Ooze: What's Going On?

What are the differences in the microbes that makes them happy at different levels of Ooze City? Finding the answer to that question isn't easy, but fortunately some scientists have studied the matter and have figured out what's going on. Scientists actually call Ooze City a "Winogradsky column" because a microbiologist in the 19th century, Sergei Winogradsky, built these cities and studied them to learn how microbes live and work together. Here's a little bit of what he found.

Imagine that you are microbe-size, and you have an elevator that runs from the air above Ooze City all the way to the lowest level. What is it like at the top floor, just above the water?

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