Some people use field guides to identify birds, butterflies, or other wildlife. University of California, Davis, biologist Jonathan Eisen wants to give microbe hunters a similar aid, reports Wired Science's Daniela Hernandez. As a kid, as Eisen recounted at a talk during the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual conference, he used to go around with binoculars and a guide book to find as many animals as he could. Now, he added, "I dream of having the equivalent for microbes."
Eisen wants the guide to be a collaboration between researchers and interested lay people, Hernandez says. Such a guide would contain information on major lineages and taxonomy, different species, global distribution patterns of microbes, descriptions of each organism's biology, and probably a genetic signature to help microbe hunters identify their specimens, she adds.