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The Bay Nature events calendar features events sponsored by Bay Area nature organizations from Sonoma to Santa Cruz. Find guided hikes, learn about Bay Area wildlife, enjoy nature festivals, and more! For Bay Nature-sponsored events click here.

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Marsh, Mud, and Microbes: Wetlands Photos by Sally Mack

September 12, 2017 @ 10:00 am - October 17, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

The Benicia Public Library is exhibiting my wetlands photos, including Archaea, from Sept 12 – Oct 17, 2017, reception Saturday, Sept 16,. The exhibit includes a presentation on Archaea by the microbiologist who ID’d it.

I’ve been photographing Guadalcanal Village and the eastern edge of Cullinan Ranch for many years.

In the summers of 2015 and 2016, I discovered some intriguing orange knobs with salt spikes coming out of them. Turned out it was a flourishing colony of Archaea, a microbe which is one of the oldest life forms on earth, some 3 billion years old, at the eastern edge of Cullinan Ranch. Not knowing what it was, I kept asking around until I found a microbiologist who went out with me, collected samples, and ID’d it as Archaea. 

Those knobs represented millions and millions of individual cells piled on top of each other. The salt spikes had been excreted in order to maintain optimum saline levels within the cell interior. I’ve attached one of the photos I took of Archaea in 2016.

Unfortunately, the entire area was bulldozed in Sept 2016 and inundated with water a couple of months later.

But Archaea lives! The microbiologist and I went out earlier this week, he confirmed its continuing presence, not as orange knobs but as deep red areas under the shallow water. Whether it will form its orange knobs, again, who knows.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks.


September 12, 2017 @ 10:00 am
October 17, 2017 @ 9:00 pm
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