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 genera Methylobacterium and Methylorubrum. 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 without contacting us, we would love to hear from you if you do! We’d be eager to collaborate by helping to characterize the strains that your students isolate. The results will ultimately contribute to the broader scientific community by helping us to answer questions about microbial evolution, ecology, and community assembly.

NEWS! You can now read all about our 2021 online lessons with San Francisco Bay Area public high schools in a preprint we’ve posted on bioRxiv. Find it here:
Jones PA, Frischer D, Mueller S, Le T, Schwanes A, Govindaraju A, Shalvarjian KE, Leducq J-B, Marx CJ, Martinez-Gomez NC, Lee JA. 2021. Methylothon: a versatile course-based high school research experience in microbiology and bioinformatics– with pink bacteria. bioRxiv. doi:

This project is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Division of Environmental Biology, Dimensions of Biodiversity program (award 1831838).