By Stefan Helmreich
Alien Ocean immerses readers in worlds being newly explored via marine biologists, worlds often out of sight and achieve: the deep sea, the microscopic realm, and oceans past nationwide limitations. operating along scientists at sea and in labs in Monterey Bay, Hawai'i, the Woods gap Oceanographic establishment, and the Sargasso Sea and at undersea volcanoes within the jap Pacific, Stefan Helmreich charts how revolutions in genomics, bioinformatics, and distant sensing have pressed marine biologists to determine the ocean as lively via its smallest population: marine microbes. Thriving in astonishingly severe stipulations, such microbes became key figures in clinical and public debates in regards to the beginning of lifestyles, weather switch, biotechnology, or even the potential for lifestyles on different worlds.
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Extra resources for Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas
But Pete remains enthusiastic about using nucleic acids to learn about methane metabolism, though he tells me he is wary of thinking about microbial matters only bioinformatically; organic stuff often drops out, he says, in the digital domain. " Pete points me to a poster detailing results the DeLong lab will present later in the year. I scan the poster, titled "Construction and Analysis of Shotgun and Fosmid Genomic Libraries of Anaerobic Methane-oxidizing Archaea from Deep-sea Methane Seeps," reviewing, in technical language, some of what I have seen at MBARI.
She shows me a website from which she can retrieve such data and comments on the constant need to think of context. Sometimes, she tells me, if she is looking at a microbe living near the surface, she will think back to surfing or scuba diving, trying to remember temperature and light shifts. Meditating on further connections between the lab and the sea, she tells me a chilling fact about ocean samples: when trying to determine whether particular marine microbes gather their carbon from near the bottom or higher up in the water column, some labs look at the concentration of carbon-14 in their bodies.
I later hear a talk at MBARI about how such networks would allow scientists to sit at home gathering oceanographic data. No need for seasickness pills, yak sites, or, indeed, fieldwork; what counts as presence in the field---'-presence upon which representations will be based-is transforming. The Lobos might do maintenance on nodes and cables in such a system (and Ventana might shift from a glamorous tool for immersive exploration to an everyday repair device). A crewmember jokes that without scientists on board they could do some proper salmon fishing.
Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas by Stefan Helmreich