Scott Chimileski on Microbes in Natural History Museums

So many cool things in this post by Scott Chimileski at Small Things Considered:

by Scott Chimileski | Have you ever visited a natural history museum and looked for microbe exhibits? If you have, I’d bet you didn’t find any. In my own searches, I usually see microbes represented only by some species names written on a tree of life, or by a minor section of another exhibit. When I first realized that microbial life is a small fraction of content on display, I was shocked.

I confess I particularly like the 3D print of the Haloferax volcanii biofilm because I worked on this organism for part of my PhD and then ran the project to sequence its genome.

In the post Chimileski discusses the general topic areas for microbe exhibits in natural history museums:

  • Concept area #1: Sociality, community, multicellularity and collective behavior
  • Concept area #2: The shapers and stewards of our planet
  • Concept area #3: Animal-microbial symbioses and the human microbiota

Anyway – definitely worth a look.

4 thoughts on “Scott Chimileski on Microbes in Natural History Museums

  1. That would be so cool! I love museums, but I’m always a bit let down when they don’t talk about microbes, especially in exhibits that have such huge potential for it. The Smithsonian had a couple little blurbs on microbes related to specific larger themes, so that was nice to see.

  2. Thank you again Jonathan for your support! I should mention that along with the human microbiome, we are also working to incorporate an exhibit on the microbiology of the built environment!

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Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.