making the unseen microbes around you seen

by Greg Fricker

We live in a microbial world, but how keenly aware are we of the presence of these microbes in our everyday life?  Created with the intent of increasing this awareness, the mycrobes project has been used to illustrate the almost ubiquitous presence of fungi and bacteria in the world around us. Greg-Plate-Broll-3 Students, teachers, and interested people of all ages swab a combination of environmental and human samples onto an LB plate, and then we photograph the plates everyday allowing anyone to catch a glimpse of the diversity of the microbial life in the world around them as they track the progress of their plate online at

One of my favorite things about is that you can search using tags for samples that have been collected from any source of interest (eyeball anyone?).IMG_2029  The mycrobes project has allowed us to reach out to the community and interact with our future scientists as we teach them about the importance of the microscopic community all around them.  Lately, I have had the opportunity to speak to both local elementary school teachers from Bouie Elementary School as well as high school students in the Pre-College Program at Emory about the mycrobes project.  They have been very responsive and it has been very rewarding.

mycrobes has been a wonderful lab-wide effort that would not have been possible without the hard work everyone has put into collecting samples, maintaining the back end, and photographing plates.

If you have any questions or would be interested in participating in the mycrobes project, please contact us.