By Stefan Helmreich
Alien Ocean immerses readers in worlds being newly explored via marine biologists, worlds frequently 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 work out the ocean as lively through its smallest population: marine microbes. Thriving in astonishingly severe stipulations, such microbes became key figures in clinical and public debates in regards to the foundation of lifestyles, weather swap, biotechnology, or even the potential for existence on different worlds.
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Extra resources for Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas
He chuckles enigmatically. More pertinent is that Lola runs too slowly-it takes six hours to sequence a 96-well plate. MBARI sends most materials out to be sequenced at the Institute for Genomic Research, the entity behind the shotgun sequencing that propelled the Human Genome Project toward completion. Shotgun sequencing works by shredding multiple copies of the same organismic DNA, which are then sequenced by armies of speedy robots. Using bioinformatic software, computers churn through all these overlapping sequences and reassemble them into something researchers hope looks a lot like the actual, correct, sequence.
As a postdoc, Steven is being professionalized, and his story is infused with questions about the meaning of his career and the creatures to which he has devoted his work. The paper that Steven eventually publishes in Science, "Reverse Methanogenesis: Testing the Hypothesis with Environmental Genomics," begins by pointing out that "microbial methane consumption in anoxic sediments significantly impacts the global environment by reducing the flux of greenhouse gases from ocean to atmosphere"67 and, after arguing that a better characterization of microbial metabolism is on the way, leaves it at that, as well the paper might, since the study does not reach into methods and theory from climate science.
S2 At the same time, such comments express a wonder and confidence that even the most chaotic substance can be made to signify. The language of message also suggests a communicative relationship between sender and receiver-a relation that unfolds in time, in which methanotrophic microbes are rhetorically positioned as delivering to scientists an ancient and alien wisdom from the deep history of Earth. While reinforcing scientists' sense of wonder, such messages are not, in the main, imagined through earnest spiritual rhetoric.