Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Life Underground

A recent story from Robert Boyd, at the McClatchy news service, reports that scientists now believe that "nearly half the living material on our planet is hidden in or beneath the ocean or in rocks, soil, tree roots, mines, oil wells, lakes and aquifers on the continents." Wow. Apparently, at the December 2009 gathering of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Katrina Edwards -- a microbiologist at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles -- claimed that "The organisms that live in this environment may collectively have a mass equivalent to that of all of Earth's surface dwellers and may provide keys to solving major environmental, agricultural and industrial problems." And, marine geologists are preparing to drill in six locations under the world's oceans to install "observatories" that will be linked to on-land research stations. Fantastic!

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