May 12, 2006
A SALTY NAME. A new species is often named after the discoverer or a loved one. But leave it to the kids to take the scientific high road in tagging a salt- and sun-loving microbe found in the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
Salsolis was discovered by Ashlee Allred, a student at Westminster College in Utah working with biochemist Bonnie Baxter. Baxter teamed up with Maple Tree Press to hold a Name a New Species Contest. And the joint winners were Hannah Walsh, 11 (top), and Duncan Uszkay, 8 (above), of Canada, who independently chose the same Latin-based moniker.
Runners-up included "Salteenies" and "Salty the Basking Carrot," but Baxter chose salsolis because "it reflected the scientific process of naming organisms." Salsolis belongs to the Halorubrum genus, and Baxter is proposing Halorubrum salsosis as its scientific name.