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Cover photograph (Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.): Electron micrograph of Rhodopseudomonas palustris strain TIE-1 superimposed upon shallow sediments from the Sippewissett Salt Marsh near Woods Hole, MA. These sediments are well known for their “berries”—colorful microbial assemblages dominated by purple phototrophic bacteria. In attempting to learn about early microbial communities, geobiologists have focused on hydrocarbons preserved in ancient sedimentary rocks that derive from “hopanoids,” a class of lipids made by diverse bacteria. (See related article on page 6145.)

J Bacteriol. 2009 October; 191(19): Cover