Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project at the University of Colorado in Boulder, works in the lab where the samples are processed. The American Gut Project hide caption

itoggle caption The American Gut Project

The dengue virus has an icosahedral shape, similar to the pattern on a soccer ball. Antibodies stop the virus by binding to its surface. Laguna Design/Science Source hide caption

itoggle caption Laguna Design/Science Source

After a quick swipe and online registration, these test tubes were ready to ship back to the lab at the University of Colorado in Boulder for sequencing and analysis. Katherine Harmon Courage for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Katherine Harmon Courage for NPR

This sea otter, about to eat a crab in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, is cute, sure. But more importantly, it's indirectly combating some harmful effects of agricultural runoff and protecting the underwater ecosystem. Rob Eby/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Rob Eby/AP