New York Times: In its search for microorganisms that produce antibiotics, a research team has found a species that might be the source of the oceans’ methane. The microorganism they found, Nitrosopumilus maritimus, produces methylphosphonic acid, which it uses to obtain phosphorus. In the process, it releases methane as a byproduct. Methylphosphonic acid had previously been suggested as the chemical source for methane production in the ocean, but no organisms were known to create it. The oceans are the source of 4% of the methane in Earth’s atmosphere, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but methane is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Researchers had previously thought the oceans’ methane was produced by a class of microorganisms that died in the presence of oxygen, but they could not explain how the species could survive in the oxygen-rich oceans.