Much of the work being done at Synthetic Genomics stems from a voyage made by the scientist J. Craig Venter (in green tank top) aboard his 95-foot sailing sloop, the Sorcerer II, outfitted as a seagoing lab. To his left is Tony Knap, senior research scientist at the Bermuda Biological Station for Research. The expedition set sail around the world in spring 2003.
Filtration systems aboard the Sorcerer II were an essential part of the gear used to identify micro-organisms. The ultimate goal of the expedition: publishing a genomic catalog of the world's microbes.
This YSI meter measures variables such as water temperature, salinity, pH and dissolved oxygen.
The expedition's test voyage to the Sargasso Sea off Bermuda, an area thought to have low species diversity, turned up more than a million unexpected genes. Samples included at least 1,800 species of bacteria, including 100 new ones.
The Sorcerer II began its round-the-world trip in Nova Scotia (far right on the map), then headed west through the Panama Canal to Australia, then further west around South Africa.