Cover image for A field guide to bacteria
A field guide to bacteria
Dyer, Betsey Dexter.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
viii, 355 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 22 cm
Introduction: becoming bacteriocentric -- Guide to habitats -- 1. Ancient hyperthermophiles and thermophilic green nonsulfurs -- Introduction to the archaea -- 2. Methanogens -- 3. Hyperthermophilic archaea -- 4. Halophiles -- 5. Green sulfur bacteria -- Introduction to the proteobacteria -- 6. Alpha proteobacteria -- 7. Beta proteobacteria -- 8. Gamma and delta proteobacteria of non-sulfur-rich environments -- 9. Gamma and delta proteobacteria of sulfur-rich environments -- Introduction to the gram-positive bacteria -- 10. Gram-positive bacteria of foods and drinks -- 11. Gram-positive bacteria of soils and other substrates -- 12. Gram-positive bacteria as symbionts of animals and plants -- Introduction to the cyanobacteria -- 13. Cyanobacteria of aquatic and terrestrial habitats -- 14. Cyanobacteria associations with other organisms -- 15. Bacteroides, gliders, and their relatives -- 16. Spirochetes -- 17. Thermus and Deinococcus -- 18. Planctomycetes and their relatives.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QR100 .D946 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Bacteria are an integral aspect of every habitat in which they occur and affect the lives of humans, other animals, and plants in many ways. Too often, we equate bacterium with pathogen and think of bacteria as things to avoid. In a guide for naturalists, students, teachers and tourists alike, Betsey Dexter Dyer lets the reader know that it is possible to observe bacteria with all the senses. Many groups of bacteria can be easily identified in the field (or in the refrigerator) without a microscope.

Author Notes

Betsey Dexter Dyer is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This isn't a book on how to avoid E.coli and other nefarious bacteria that invade our food and homes, but an amateur naturalist's guide to all sorts of bacteria that can be seen (and smelled) without a microscope, from their habitats (hot springs, marine mud flats, even urban areas), to how to recognize and identify them in all their remarkable diversity. After all, the author reminds us, bacteria are "the most predominant organisms on Earth," and she even recommends taking a "bacteriocentric" point of view in order to understand them. All the major groupings are covered, along with information on how to culture bacteria, use a microscope and practice good safety precautions. More than 100 color illustrations will assist the happy bacteria hunter as well. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

In writing this Field Guide, Dyer (Wheaton College) has done such an excellent job that even an amateur naturalist will find it interesting and adaptable. Dyer begins with introductory remarks on taxonomy, nomenclature, and ecology of bacteria. Then, each of the following 18 chapters discusses a major taxonomic group of bacteria. The book ends with simple techniques for growing bacteria and observing them under microscope. Thus, it can be used in the field by anyone who wants to study bacteria in nature. Besides describing environmental and ecological aspects of each branch of bacterial family tree, the author also explains how to find these bacteria by smell, touch, and macroscopic observations. The 98 color plates describing various forms of bacteria in their natural habitats are superbly reproduced. The only deficiency one can point out is inadequacy in describing various techniques such as inoculations of broth and solid media, staining, and different components of a microscope. Nonetheless, it is potentially a wonderful resource for those who are interested in studying bacterial ecology--amateur naturalists, biology teachers, or even professional microbiologists, and should find a lasting home in the collections of all of them. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels. A. M. Dhople Florida Institute of Technology

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introduction: Becoming Bacteriocentricp. 1
How to Use This Guidep. 2
In Defense of Bacteriocentricityp. 5
Taxonomy and Nomenclaturep. 7
Balance and Focusp. 12
Ecology on a Miniature Scalep. 13
Observing Bacteriap. 22
Guide to Habitatsp. 24
Chapter 1 Ancient Hyperthermophiles and Thermophilic Green Nonsulfursp. 34
Introduction to the Archaea: Methanogens, Hyperthermophiles, and Halophilesp. 50
Chapter 2 Methanogensp. 53
Chapter 3 Hyperthermophilic Archaeap. 64
Chapter 4 Halophilesp. 69
Chapter 5 Green Sulfur Bacteriap. 75
Introduction to the Proteobacteriap. 82
Chapter 6 Alpha Proteobacteriap. 84
Chapter 7 Beta Proteobacteriap. 106
Chapter 8 Gamma and Delta Proteobacteria of Non-Sulfur-Rich Environmentsp. 126
Chapter 9 Gamma and Delta Proteobacteria of Sulfur-Rich Environmentsp. 141
Introduction to the Gram-Positive Bacteriap. 164
Chapter 10 Gram-Positive Bacteria of Foods and Drinksp. 167
Chapter 11 Gram-Positive Bacteria of Soils and Other Substratesp. 189
Chapter 12 Gram-Positive Bacteria as Symbionts of Animals and Plantsp. 204
Introduction to the Cyanobacteriap. 232
Chapter 13 Cyanobacteria of Aquatic and Terrestrial Habitatsp. 235
Chapter 14 Cyanobacterial Associations with Other Organismsp. 264
Chapter 15 Bacteroides, Gliders, and Their Relativesp. 276
Chapter 16 Spirochetesp. 285
Chapter 17 Thermus and Deinococcusp. 294
Chapter 18 Planctomycetes and Their Relativesp. 298
Appendix A How to Culture Bacteriap. 303
Appendix B Safety Precautionsp. 313
Appendix C How to Use a Microscopep. 315
Appendix D Suggestions for Science Fair and Classroom Projectsp. 321
Appendix E A Life List of Bacteriap. 323
Glossaryp. 325
Referencesp. 335
Indexp. 339