Pretty Blue Wires

27 Oct

electric_bacteriaDesulfobulbaceae are a newly discovered family of bacteria that generate electricity.

In other words, the entire ocean bed may be electrified in the same way our nervous systems are. They’re networks of individual cells connected by electro-chemical signals — essentially they are an enormous multi-cellular organism. These bacteria "breathe" by absorbing oxygen and hydrogen sulfide, emitting water as a byproduct. They might be serving as a vast water purification system on the ocean bottom, or they might be part of a geological process that’s a lot more complex. We also have no way of knowing how other sea creatures are interacting with this giant electrical grid organism.

What matters here is that we’ve just discovered a new kind of life that is not only ubiquitous, but also engaging in electro-chemical processes throughout the oceans.

electric_bacteria_schematicScientists do not believe these beasties share consciousness through these electrical connections. But, at Wired there’s plenty of other fascinating and plausible speculations in the comments section.

I was thinking is i[t] possible that on the very early earth these guys were responsible for creating much of the water that still remains today. I always thought water was pretty much a constant on earth with very little being created but that obviously couldn’t have always been the case since the earth began dry. Modern theories say most of the water on earth was brought down on meteorites, but maybe this not be the case. Interesting.

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Could this be the basis of bio-computers of the future?

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Personally I suspect that this sort of thing is probably very widespread and we’ve not discovered much of it. This is real evidence supporting Gaia Hypothesis.

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Could these organisms be used to ‘grow’ water on Mars?

How about an alternative source of energy?

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