If you get really curious to learn more about the bacteria making these natural colors in the water, there are simple ways to collect them in the field and study them at home or in a lab. If you want to tell others about what you found, make some notes. To do this, take some field notes that include the date and location of each sample (mark this on your topographic map) and a short description of the environs, label the sample containers or slides, and think about the bacteria's environment before beginning to collect.

bacteria collection
"Pet bacteria" collection on a kitchen windowsill. Watch for changes over time. The left-center vials have red iron flocculates. Manganese is present in the left vials, and, after several weeks, the manganese-oxidizing bacteria (Leptothrix discophora) formed rings around the vials. Acid-tolerant bacteria in the right-center vials precipitated yellow flocs. Sulfur bacteria smell like rotten eggs, so the vials are placed in a plastic bag (right).


"How To Collect Slimy Flocculates"arrow

Contact: Norrie Robbins
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