Nevskia ramosa

Seventy percent of our earth is covered by water. The water-air interface represents a special habitat, as it accumulates organic compounds and microorganisms due to the high surface tension of water. The microbial community at the water surface is named neuston. The most famous neuston bacterium is Nevskia ramosa. The bacteria form flat rosette-like structures that branch when the cells divide. On the water surface, the bacteria are exposed to high doses of UV light. However, they are resistant to those by special repair mechanisms of DNA damages. They are feeding on simple organic molecules as lactic acid or acetic acid. Their special purpose of life on the water surface appears to be that they can collect nitrogen compounds entering the water from the air. If nitrogen compounds are added to their growth medium, they dive down and grow within the water body.

Team members involved

  • Rudolf Amann, MPI Marine Mikrobiologie, Bremen
  • Hans-Dietrich Babenzien, IGB Berlin/Neuglobsow
  • Frank-Oliver Glöckner, MPI Marine Mikrobiologie, Bremen 



  • Pladdies T, Babenzien H-D, Cypionka H (2004) Distribution of Nevskia ramosa and other rosette-forming neustonic bacteria. Microb Ecol 47:218-223
  • Stürmeyer H, Overmann J, Babenzien HD, Cypionka H (1998) Ecophysiological and phylogenetic studies of Nevskia ramosa in pure culture. Appl Environ Microbiol 64:1890-1894
  • Ottenjann T (1998) Vergleich von Rosetten-bildenden Bakterien asus dem Neuston verschiedener Gewässer. Diplom-Arbeit, Univ. Oldenburg
  • Stürmeyer H (1997) Isolierung und mikrobiologische Charakterisierung von Nevskia ramosa. Diplomarbeit, Univ. Oldenburg
  • Glöckner FO, Babenzien HD, Amann R (1998) Phylogeny and identification in situ of Nevskia ramosa. Appl Environ Microbiol 64:1895-1901