Download Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas by Stefan Helmreich PDF

By Stefan Helmreich

Alien Ocean immerses readers in worlds being newly explored by way of marine biologists, worlds often out of sight and succeed in: the deep sea, the microscopic realm, and oceans past nationwide obstacles. 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 japanese Pacific, Stefan Helmreich charts how revolutions in genomics, bioinformatics, and distant sensing have pressed marine biologists to determine the ocean as lively by way of its smallest population: marine microbes. Thriving in astonishingly severe stipulations, such microbes became key figures in clinical and public debates concerning the starting place of existence, weather swap, biotechnology, or even the opportunity of lifestyles on different worlds.

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Sample text

Coli allows researchers to grow substantial quantities of such substances. (Making a genomic or metagenomic library is different; here, the lab uses a fosmid, a plasmid that controls copy number in cells). What Steven and company are creating, then, are "mermicrobes"organisms part sea creature and part everyday terrestrial bacterium. 49 When I offer this word to Steven, he grins and says the concern at this stage is to avoid producing chimeras, DNA clones containing gene regions artifactually combined from different organisms during amplification.

Adam labels the mud-filled pushcores and transfers them into a holding box. Still scouting for whales on the horizon, I make out the shore and recall a whale-monitoring program run by the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), the other research center in Moss Landing. If MBARI is high-tech and focused on the future, MLML is more modestly budgeted and attaches itself to more traditionally conservationist undertakings. One of MLML's projects has been the attempt to monitor the migration of whales using sea lions outfitted with cameras.

Extending associations between oceans and outer space, projected marine observatories have acronyms like MARS (Monterey Accelerated Research System), NEPTUNE (NorthEast Pacific Time-series The Message from the Mud / Undersea Networked Experiments; see chapter 6), and VENUS (Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea). The vision feels science-fictional, floating in the future. In these computerized days, the oceans are coming to be viewed through the robot cameras of entities like Ventana and their online interfaces.

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