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There are 2,300 different species of bacteria living in your belly button. Have a nice day

There are 2,300 different species of bacteria living in your belly button. Have a nice day

I’m just betting the next time you shower you’re going to be a bit more diligent cleaning things up, now aren’t you?

The Belly Button Biodiversity Project, which explores the bacterial ecosystems living in its participants’ navels, has discovered that a small number of bacterial phylotypes (or “species”) dominate the micro-landscape.

The biologists’ results show a “jungle of microbial diversity” with over 2,300 species of bacteria present and only eight of those recurring frequently — a similar diversity distribution to that of tree species in tropical rainforests.

The Belly Button Biodiversity Project began life as a method of engaging the public in personalised scientific study, culturing belly button bacteria to provide an individualised microbiotic portrait. Marked differences between the cultures encouraged the researchers to extend the project and seek further belly buttons and bacterial data.

“We approached the data collected from this first batch of 66 navels much like an explorer approaches a newly discovered patch of rainforest,” said Holly Menninger, Director of Public Science for North Carolina State University. “We started by asking very basic questions, namely what and how many species live there.”

The species distribution is best explained referencing “oligarchs” — species which are present in most of the ecosystems and abundant when they are present.

(thumb via the linked article)

 

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