As a team, we decided to individually collect bacteria from meaningful places around campus that are also representative of the types of bacteria that can be found throughout Charlottesville. My everyday walk involves passing through the one and only Madison Bowl, so I decided to make it the source of my bacterial sample. Mad Bowl (as we call it for short) is host to many sports, events, people, pets and, even if we don’t think about it much, it is also hosts to an array of microorganisms, including bacteria. I will collect soil from Mad Bowl, carefully picking soil that is closer to the grass, since bacterial colonies tend to live closer to plant roots. The bacteria in this sample is likely to be representative of the bacteria found specifically on ground soil, given that green spaces around campus get the same maintenance and environmental factors.

We will meet as a team to observe the bacteria of each different sample under a microscope. It will be interesting to see how bacteria differ or are similar to one another between all of our samples.

Finally, since we can’t photograph what we see and using words to describe bacteria can be a dry experience, we decided to record our observations by drawing them. Whether the result is accurate representation or abstract art, I am not sure, but it will certainly be exciting to see what we all come up with! Who thought that documenting bacteria could be art? I certainly didn’t, but stay tuned to see our upcoming “collection”!


Even with gloomy weather, we are still mad about Mad Bowl! (Plus, rain means moist soil, and moist soil means optimal environment for bacteria to thrive!)

 Post by Adriana Castillo-Fischer