By Stefan Helmreich
Alien Ocean immerses readers in worlds being newly explored by means of marine biologists, worlds frequently out of sight and succeed in: the deep sea, the microscopic realm, and oceans past nationwide obstacles. 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 determine the ocean as lively via its smallest population: marine microbes. Thriving in astonishingly severe stipulations, such microbes became key figures in clinical and public debates concerning the foundation of existence, weather swap, biotechnology, or even the potential of existence on different worlds.
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Additional info for Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas
We are searching for peculiar colorations of mud, signs of distinctive metabolism. Pete instructs ROV pilot D. J. Osborne on where to position Ventana. D. , slowly transposing his bodily motion, a fragment of his presence, into the robot deep below, tries to be mindful of the clams. D. : If I sit down here, I can try not to disturb them. PETE: They're pretty happy. They're gigantic! [Looking at camera controls, realizing things are not what they seem] oh! We're zoomed in. The Message from the Mud / 43 FIGURE 6.
Let's do a flyby. Is it easy to get some of those tubeworms? 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 searching for meaning in microbes, they trust rational approaches to reveal surprising relations-like those between biodiversity and biogeochemistry-though they also consider such connections to have social consequence, even ethical import. With a range of associations from sullied to morally significant, methanogenic and methanotrophic microbes exhibit something of the flavor that anthropologists have assigned to the taboo. 964 "Anthropological Aspects of Language: Animal Categories and Verbal Abuse," we read: "Quite apart from the fact that all scientific enquiry is devoted to 'discovering' those parts of the environment that lie on the / The Message from the Mud The Message from the Mud borders of what is 'already known,' we have the phenomenon, which is variously described by anthropologists and psychologists, in which whatever is taboo is a focus not only of special interest but also of anxiety.
Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas by Stefan Helmreich