CBE Life Sciences Education
Microbes share with higher organisms many of the fundamental properties of life—genetics, metabolism—and have accomplished more than any other group in terms of solving basic biological and biochemical processes that allow adaptation for life on Earth. John L. Ingraham, former President of the American Society of Microbiologists, and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, has written an eloquent book detailing a series of episodes he calls “sightings,” that explain some of the evolutionary adaptations that microbes have undertaken to persist as one of the most fascinating groups of organisms. The book is divided into 14 chapters, ranging from the acquisition of metabolic energy to surviving in hostile environments. There is also a short glossary of some technical terms. Although the main focus is on bacteria, the author dedicates some chapters to protozoans, fungi, and viruses.