Methylothon is an initiative to bring lessons in microbial ecology and evolution to the high school classroom, using the ubiquitous, friendly, plant-associated pink organisms of the genus Methylobacterium. On this site you’ll find materials for building a microbial ecology lesson that fits into your own curriculum, beginning with isolating your very own Methylobacterium cultures from plants near you, through genetic identification and phenotypic characterization.
While you’re welcome to use any of the educational materials we provide here, a Methylothon is really only a Methylothon if it’s a competition! To get fully involved, contact us about entering your class’s isolates to participate in our annual all-against-all microbial “cage match”: we’ll do competition assays in a variety of growth conditions, including in planta, to find the isolates that are fittest in each environment. The results will ultimately contribute to the broader scientific community by helping us to answer questions about microbial evolution, ecology, and community assembly.
This project is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Division of Environmental Biology, Dimensions of Biodiversity program (award 1831838).