Mind

Bellybutton biodiversity update: Wonderlands upon wonderlands

By Carl ZimmerJul 30, 2011 9:31 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Last month I contemplated the staggering diversity of microbes in my bellybutton--an experience made possible by my participation in a survey of microbiome diversity carried out by scientists at North Carolina State University. At the time, I thought I was quite the host. I was informed there were 53 species living in my navel, some of which had never been seen on skin before and some of which were altogether new to science. I was even informed that I was a "wonderland."

Well, the project is moving forward at quite a clip, and the scientists are starting to push more of their data online. Here you can see the species from the first 60 volunteers they've studied. The lists are coded by number--I'm B944. I appear to have lost a species so I'm down to 52. And 52 is, I'm seeing, nothing to blog home about. So far, the diversity champion is the anonymous owner of bellybutton B1288. 107 species! Now that's a wonderland....

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.