With a “billion billion billion” Prochlorococci in the ocean — that’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 — you would think they’d be easy to find. But 25 years ago, no one knew this microscopic organism existed.
And it’s a good thing they do. Without their ancestors, we wouldn’t be breathing, says Penny Chisholm, an oceanographer who sails the seas searching for the stuff.
An ocean-dwelling organism called Prochlorococcus plays an important role in photosynthesis. Oceanographer Penny Chisholm explains. Video by Rebecca Jacobson. Additional video courtesy Eric Grabowski, NSF Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education. Images courtesy Chisholm Lab, MIT.