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The Q? Blog

Webcast Extra: Q&A with Geologist Cara Santelli

by Maggy Benson -- Mar 16, 2015
Smithsonian's Maggy Benson

Maggy Benson manages the Q?rius distance-learning program and hosts the Museum's webcast series, Smithsonian Science How.

Smithsonian's Dr. Cara Santelli answers questions about her research on microbes cleaning up pollution in this short video blog.

Did you know that the tiniest of all life forms can perform some of the most herculean transformations? Some types of microbes, like fungus and bacteria, are tiny mineral-making machines, capable of transforming toxic pollution into less harmful minerals. 

During our March 12, 2015, webcast, “Mineral Transformations: Demystifying Microbes,” Dr. Santelli gave us a look into her research on microbes that both make and degrade minerals, and how these interactions impact the environment. Some of the microbes she studies comprise nature’s tiniest-cleanup crews, capable of eliminating different types of pollution.

But if microbes are so great, why do we have to be concerned about pollution? Are there any types of pollution microbes can’t clean up? And what is that big white mineral on the table in front of Dr. Santelli?

Get the answers to these and other questions Dr. Santelli didn’t have a chance to answer during the live program.

Whether you watched the live or archived show, let us know what you think about the program by filling out a short survey. Your feedback helps us improve your webcast experience.

Ready for the next “Smithsonian Science How” webcast? Tune in on March 26, 2015 when we explore the weird and wonderful new species that Dr. Karen Osborn has discovered in the open ocean during "Ocean Biodiversity: Discovering Marine Invertebrates." 

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