MELBOURNE, Australia—Doctoral candidate Andrea Unzueta-Martinez lights up when she talks about the tiny creatures that dominate our lives.

Unzueta-Martinez, a doctoral candidate at Northeastern’s Marine Science Center, spent three months at the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute raising oyster larvae to try and figure out how they acquire their microbiome.

The term refers to the billions of microscopic colonists that inhabit every living creature. Even your own body is teeming with bacteria, viruses, fungi, and archaea—they make up more than half of your cells.

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