Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas by Stefan Helmreich

By Stefan Helmreich

Alien Ocean immerses readers in worlds being newly explored by means of marine biologists, worlds often 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 japanese Pacific, Stefan Helmreich charts how revolutions in genomics, bioinformatics, and distant sensing have pressed marine biologists to work out the ocean as lively via its smallest population: marine microbes. Thriving in astonishingly severe stipulations, such microbes became key figures in medical and public debates in regards to the starting place of existence, weather swap, biotechnology, or even the potential for existence on different worlds.

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Lobos is notorious for making people ill. A poem about the ship penned by an MBARlan ends, But I am experiencing technical difficulties: My heave compensator has failed, Compiler's in error, signals drowning in noise, Standard output is over the raip2 When I reenter the control room, Adam has kindly changed videotapes and taken my place at VICKI. After a while, operations are finished and the ROV begins its ascent to the surface. I ask ROV pilot Knute Brekke how he maneuvers Ventana. 33 He demonstrates the robot arms.

Meditating on further connections between the lab and the sea, she tells me a chilling fact about ocean samples: when trying to determine whether particular marine microbes gather their carbon from near the bottom or higher up in the water column, some labs look at the concentration of carbon-14 in their bodies. Because of twentieth-century 62 / The Message from the Mud nuclear testing in the South Pacific, surface waters around the world are enriched in "bomb carbon," which because of the ocean's slow circulation has not yet reached its deepest regions.

D. J: We can't guarantee that we'll be back to the tubeworms, so let's do it now. PETE: Stop here. Come wide. Zoom in. There's one right next to your wrist there. Pete means the wrist of Ventana's claw, not the pilot's closer-to-hand hand. The substitution is telling, a sign of presence transported. The ROV control system uses software similar to that of the Sony PlayStation, making joystick controls transparent to those, like younger ROV pilots, who have played first-person video games. In her sociological account of deep-sea research, Chandra Mukerji argues that with such familiar techniques, benthic environments "begin to become less natural environments than areas that have characteristics of both the natural world and the social world of science.

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