Iron is an essential nutrient for living things, but is scarce in the ocean. Darwin Project researchers Stephanie Dutkiewisz, Mick Follows and Fanny Monteiro, collaborating with a team from WHOI led by Mak Saito are reporting they have found that a key marine bacterium, Crocosphaera watsonii, may have evolved a remarkable biochemical way to recycle iron for dual metabolic activities. You can read more about this work in the following WHOI News Office release or in Saito et al (2011), a recent paper in PNAS.
Saito, M. A., E . M. Bertrand, S. Dutkiewicz, V. V. Bulygin, D. M. Moran, F. M. Monteiro, M. J. Follows, F. W. Valois, and J. B. Waterbury (2011), Iron conservation by reduction of metalloenzyme inventories in the marine diazotroph Crocosphaera watsonii.
Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1006943108
Take a look at this short student documentary by Helen Hou. The movie features MIT graduate students Andrew Barton and Sophie Clayton talking about the Darwin project.
Follows, M.J. and S. Dutkiewicz (2011), Modeling diverse communities of marine microbes, Annual Reviews of Marine Science, 3, 427-451, doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-120709-142848