Monday, July 04, 2005

A Brief Note of Interest to the Biologists

As I perused the Current Science page of the Scientific American website, I came across something from June. A photosynthetic bacterium has been discovered 2400 meters below the ocean surface. Now, sunlight doesn't reach down that far. What is the source of some very dim light? Hydrothermal vents! These critters live in the 300 degree Celsius water, and are identified as a member of the green sulfur bacteria family (which live solely on products coming from photosynthetic reactions). Some suspect life may have originated in such environments. I am continually amazed at the variety, complexity, and strangeness of life, and suspect like most biologists that there are still numerous species out there we have not yet seen or identified. We are finding that life of some type can exist and thrive in every environment we have looked on earth, and it just strengthens my belief that there must be some form of life (not necessarily little green men, but certainly microorganisms) on numerous worlds scattered throughout the universe.

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