The Microbiome of Home

by AMNH on

On Exhibit posts

Don't look now, but you're never really home alone.

That shouldn't worry you—nobody is judging your Netflix binges or midnight snacks. It just means your nearest neighbors are closer at hand than you might think. That's because, just like you, your house or apartment has its own microbiome—a unique, invisible population of bacteria, fungi, and viruses living within it. Even within the same house, different rooms have different microbial populations—your kitchen, for instance, hosts different bacteria than you'll find in your bedroom. Click the image below to enlarge it and see what kinds of microbes may be sharing in your domestic bliss, and what factors shape the microbiome of your home.

Illustration of a home with labels showing where microbes can be found in a home.
5W Infographics/© AMNH

If you want to learn more about the microbes you live alongside every day and find out about the bacterial populations living in your colon, as well as the ones on your couch, come visit the special exhibition The Secret World Inside You, now on view at the Museum through August 14.

SWIY Visitors
The diversity of the Museum's visitors makes it a great place to get a snapshot of microbial populations.
© AMNH/D. Finnin

And if you come by on a weekend between now and July 31, you can even participate in some of the latest scientific research by sharing a sample of your bacterial buddies with the Healthy Microbiome Project. Visitors to the Sackler Educational Laboratory can see microbes growing in culture and learn more about this rapidly advancing field of study. Those age 18 and over can contribute an anonymous sample of their own microbiome to help researchers get a better idea of what microbial populations look like in individuals from around the world.