21 January 2011

Discovering Our Abysmal Ignorance of Life in the Sea


An entirely new species of "algae" has been discovered living in both saltwater and freshwater environments. The discovery may be much larger than the researchers dared to dream -- and reveals a deep human ignorance of what is actually happening in the world's oceans.
A team of biologists has discovered an entirely new group of algae living in a wide variety of marine and freshwater environments. This group of algae, which the researchers dubbed "rappemonads," have DNA that is distinctly different from that of other known algae. In fact, humans and mushrooms are more closely related to each other than rappemonads are to some other common algae (such as green algae). Based on their DNA analysis, the researchers believe that they have discovered not just a new species or genus, but a potentially large and novel group of microorganisms.

...When asked why these apparently widespread algae had not been detected sooner, Sudek speculates that it may in part be due to their size. “They are too small to be noticed by people who study bigger algae such as diatoms, yet they may be filtered out by researchers who study the really small algae, known as picoplankton.”

Sudek says, “The rappemonads are just one of many microbes that we know nothing about—this makes it an exciting field in which to work.” _MBARI
Humans are not even close to getting an accurate species count for either land or sea.

Human science is ignorant about a lot of things in the natural world. It is safe to say that there are more things that science does not know about the world, than things it does know. Science is ignorant, for example, of how microbes are able to survive in so many extreme environments. Science understands very little so far about genetics and epigenetics. Science does not even understand why plants are shifting their areas of growth downhill, when IPCC climate scientists have been declaring categorically that a warming Earth would force plants to retreat uphill.

We are living in a much stranger and more wonderful world than science so far can understand. How much better it would be for us to separate science from politics, so that we could understand these mysteries more clearly.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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