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  1. A microorganism (microbe) is an organism so small that it only can be seen through a microscope.
  2. Microbe is a generic term for any organism that completes its life cycle at a size too tiny to be seen with the naked eye (less than 1 millimetre). High concentrations of microbes may be visible to the naked eye.

Microbes include two very different groups of organisms (prokaryotes and a small number of eukaryotes). Although viruses are not considered living organisms, they are sometimes classified as microbes. The small size of microbes has an impact on fitness as it affects metabolism, generation time, colonization ability, growth rate. Generally prokaryotic cells are smaller than eukaryotic cells.

The closest surroundings of microbes are referred to as a microenvironment. In the microenvironment they may interact with other microbes in a consortium.

Microbiology is the study of microbes.



How small are microbes? Can you compare the size of microbes with something or in other ways make their small size understandable? What is the amount of microbe biomass on earth? Most microbes are prokaryotes. Are there any advantages to prokaryotic over eukaryotic cells? How does a short generation time affect the ability to adapt? Give some examples of rapid colonization by microorganisms.

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