New Life on the Titanic


The sinking of the RMS Titanic attracted worldwide attention. It continues to replay itself in our cultural imagination through books, plays, and movies.

The sailing and the sinking of the Titanic are only the first parts of the story. What many people don't know is that the Titanic's story continues to be written on the deep ocean floor. This website will guide you from familiar cultural knowledge about the Titanic to its modern context as a deep ocean wreck and to ground zero for groundbreaking bacterial research.

For one hundred years bacterial growth has been latching on to and degrading the ship's metal. Current predictions estimate that in thirty years or less the entire ship will dissolve, consumed by different microscopic bacteria, specifically a bacterium called Halomonas titanicae.

This bacterium forms net-like structures called rusticles that now adorn the Titanic. Halomonas titanicae is unique because it attaches to the steel surfaces of the Titanic providing the base from which all other bacterial life grows.

What we know today about Halomonas titanicae, and life inside the rusticles, has global implications for other undersea structures. The process of unlocking this bacterium's secrets is just beginning. On submerged metal structures such as offshore oil rigs and gas pipelines, Halomonas titanicae is making its mark.

So, here is your opportunity to brush up on the history of the Titanic, learn about amazing new discoveries and the researchers behind them, and share this information with your friends!

    Live Presentations Available!

Dr. Mann is available to present robust scientific presentations about her research to all ages. She also availble to appear in conjunction with oral herstorian and singer Rosalee Peppard . Click the pamphlet icon for details. Click here for a printable version.

For text of pictures see the New Life page.