BACTERIA
Found in every habitat imaginable, bacteria are important to help cycle organic nitrogen into nitrates that plants can absorb, as well as recycling sulfur and phosphorous to be reused in the aquatic ecosystem.  The bacteria in Emigration Creek are 
aerobic, meaning they thrive in the presence of oxygen, and they are heterotrophs, meaning that they derive their energy from breaking down organic matter.  Bacteria are found in four main shapes, dictated by their cell wall configuration.  Coccus bacteria, top left, are round, oval, or spherical in nature, while the rod or bacillus shape, top right, are long, threadlike and cylindrical, and can also curve slightly in which case they fit into a classification called vibrios, bottom left.   Lastly, spirillum bacteria are spiral and helical, twisted two or more times, as seen in bottom right. Biofilms are groupings or populations of bacteria and other microorganisms that can grow and adhere to many environmental surfaces through a slimy matrix. They can develop on essentially any organic surface where enough moisture is present. These biofilm communities take a wide variety of forms based on their age and the conditions available, and are an important element in the energy budget of many ecosystems. In Emigration Creek, the biofilm is the thin, slippery, brownish layer that can be found on the surface of the rocks in the stream bottom.  They form the basis of food webs that nourish larger organisms such as snails, mayflies, caddisflies, and other invertebrate organisms, which are in turn consumed by fish and larger animals.

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