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September 8, 2023

Mixotrophs, single-celled microbes

These single-celled microbes (Paramecium bursaria) called mixotrophs can photosynthesize like a plant or hunt food like an animal. During photosynthesis, they soak up carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas, and when they eat, they release CO2. Mixotrophs include most of the world’s ocean plankton and many other single-celled creatures, so monitoring their abundance is critical to understanding the global carbon cycle.

[Research supported by U.S. National Science Foundation grant OCE 1851194.]

Learn more in the Duke University news story Little-known microbes could help predict climate tipping points. (Date of image: 2023; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Sept. 8, 2023)

Credit: Daniel J. Wieczynski/Duke University

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