Bacterium named after GW’s Marine Mania | Guam News

George Washington High School’s Marine Mania recently had a species of bacterium named in its honor, according to Linda Tatreau, club advisor.

Tatreau said the organism, known as the Colwellia marinimaniae, has been described by Dr. Doug Bartlett of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego as “the most pressure-adapted microbe ever isolated.”

According to Tatreau, the species was discovered on amphipods caught in the Mariana Trench when filmmaker and deep sea explorer James Cameron made his historic solo dive down the Challenger Deep. The amphipods were caught using deep-sea traps.  

She said the bacteria require high pressure and freezing temperatures to live.

In 2012, Cameron set a record for becoming the first solo diver to reach the bottom of the Challenger Deep, the ocean’s deepest point at 35,756 feet (6.77 miles) below the ocean’s surface.

A publication from the Microbiology Society described the Colwellia marinimaniae as “piezophilic,” or pressure loving, and “hyperpiezophilic psychrophiles,” which means “extra pressure, extra cold.”

Marine Mania members consist of high school students who promote environmental and marine awareness. The club started in 1992 when Explore Guam was founded through the assistance of Tatreau, who was a marine biology teacher at that time. From working within the school, the club has expanded its reach throughout the island and the Mariana region.

Marine Mania has received numerous awards, including the Ga’chong I Tano’ Award from the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Achievement Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Outstanding Public Awareness & Education Award from the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, and the Governor’s Green School Award.

The naming of Colwellia marinimaniae is an honor to the thousands of…

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