Foraminifera are one of the most abundant organisms on the seafloor, or benthos. Even though they (and other protists) are so common, their role in the benthic ecosystem is not well understood.

And we're doing something about that.

 

Molecular Ecology: Hunting deepwater DNA

Explorers Cove datastore: testing the Antarctic benthos

 

About the Image: The forams pictured above are a species called Technitella. They create their "shells" (called tests, because they may be covered by cytoplasm) by gluing together neatly aligned sponge spicules. The one on the left is wearing a simulated genetic "fingerprint".