Trained as a microbiologist, Ken Nealson pursues many interdisciplinary endeavors. He was a pioneer in the field of geomicrobiology and has worked on astrobiology and microbial fuel cells. He holds posts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, where he uses genomics to survey microbial diversity in the oceans. He recently spoke with Science News managing editor Eva Emerson.
Tell me about “electromicrobiology.”
I think in 20 years, this may well be a major field. What we’re learning about is the ability of microbes to transfer electrons to different surf