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Almost infinite bacterial conversations affect climate change?

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From “Bacterial Communication Could Affect Earth’s Climate, Researchers Discover,” (ScienceDaily, Oct. 13, 2011), we learn:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists have discovered that bacterial communication could have a significant impact on the planet’s climate.

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In the ocean, bacteria coalesce on tiny particles of carbon-rich detritus sinking through the depths. WHOI marine biogeochemists Laura Hmelo, Benjamin Van Mooy, and Tracy Mincer found that these bacteria send out chemical signals to discern if other bacteria are in the neighborhood. If enough of their cohorts are nearby, then bacteria en masse commence secreting enzymes that break up the carbon-containing molecules within the particles into more digestible bits. It has been suggested that coordinated expression of enzymes is very advantageous for bacteria on sinking particles, and Hmelo and her colleagues have uncovered the first proof of this in the ocean.

“We don’t often think about bacteria making group decisions, but that is exactly what our data suggest is happening,” said Hmelo, now at the University of Washington.

Actually, we have been thinking about it a bit more these days, for example, here, so don’t feel shy.

“So microscopic bacteria buffer the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through their ‘conversations,’ ” Van Mooy said. “I think it’s amazing that there are a near-infinite number of these conversations going on in the ocean right now, and they are affecting Earth’s carbon cycle.”

So could an anti-climate change strategy include getting them to talk more?

One Reply to “Almost infinite bacterial conversations affect climate change?

  1. 1
    Eocene says:

    “So could an anti-climate change strategy include getting them to talk more?”

    No they just do what they do and that is recycling. Unfortunately when human beings live like pigs and filth up their environment and of course ALL other ecological systems on Earth, then of course things will tend to be out of balance for a time or at least until they level out again. Of course this leveling out is dependent on and would only happen “IF” Human Beings cleaned up their own act and there is no historical precedent to make us believe that this will change anytime soon. The only sad thing is that the I.D. folks should be at the forefront of environmental pioneering to properly promote the Designer’s creation, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Of course the other side doesn’t exactly give a crap either, since championing this eco-cause is nothing more than a political tool for prying power away from the fingertips of there opponants.

    Craig Venter also has religious visions of creating GMO micro-organisms that would eat up the carbons by releasing these into the environment. This is nothing more than the usual “Fix-It-Pill” approach which is nothing more than another way of profiteering and never once addressing the causes and making changes to the stupid behavior that screwed nature in the first place. This would fall in line with the same failed mistakes of the present genetic pollution going on in the environment where scientists have released irresponsible GMO technologies onto the world scene(for obscene wealth creation and power grab) for which there is also presently no answer to corect these horrible mistakes any time soon.

    On another note, these communications between these amazing bacteria also fall in line with the discoveries of communications between bacteria who hunt in what Scientists have labled “Wolfpacks”. Google it.

    Also Bonnie Bassler’s bit on Ted Talk where she describes the intelligent way bacteria communicate.


    To sum up. No doubt this News item was a poke fun at the old climate science debate and as a result misses a golden opportunity to discuss an amazing sophisticated engineering componant which is being worked over time as another result of human imperfection and failure at self-determination. No doubt this will set a good moral Legal Precedent.

    So bring it on I guess!

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