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Thomas Gold

14 December 2018

Robert sent in a link to https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/89/13/6045.full.pdf … with the note, back in the 1990s Thomas Gold wrote about the Deep Hot Biosphere. The link provides a 5 page piece by Gold which begins – 'there are strong indications that microbial life is widespread at depth in the crust of the earth, just as such life has been identified in numerous ocean vents. This kind of life is not dependent on solar energy and photosynthesis. Its energy supply comes from chemical sources due to fluids that migrate upward from deeper levels in the Earth. In mass and volume it may be compared with all surface life and such microbial life may account for the presence of biological molecules in all carbonaceous materials in the outer crust. Subsurface life may be widespread among the planetary bodies of the solar system since many of them have equally suitable conditions below, while having totally unhospitable surface conditions. One may even suspect that such life is may be widely disseminated in the universe since planets with similar subsurface conditions may be common in space.

Robert then provided two other links to Science Daily postings – www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181210101909.htm … and www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181206135643.htm … where the discovery of life deep in the earth is said to total 15 to 25 billion tons of carbon, in reference to barely living 'zomnbie' bacteria and other forms of life deep within the earth's subsurface. On the eve of the AGU annual conference scientists reported on several transformational discoveries. Drilling 2.5km into the sea floor as well as sampling microbes from mines and boreholes on land they calculate the deep biosphere as twice the volume of all the water in all the oceans. Mitch Sagin of Wood's Hole said, 'exploring the deep subsurface is akin to exploring the Amazon rainforest. There is life everywhere, and everywhere there is an awe inspiring abundance of unexpected and unusual organisms …'.

See also https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/10/tread-softly-because-you… … but a condensed version of the discoveries but an unusual interest in the names applied to the different bacteria.

The day after I put this up on the web site I noticed a piece at https://phys.org/print463999735.html … which begins with the obligatory, 'climate change threatens coral reefs around the world. High temperatures can lead to bleaching etc' They then go on to outline the symbiosis between corals and the algae that live within them. Corals are nourished by by their photosynthetic activity. This differs from Ridd (above) who says corals obtain energy from the plants (or algae) but I suppose it is a matter of the choice of wording, subtle or otherwise. They blame the 'breakdown' of the symbiosis between plant and coral somewhat ambiguously, saying the coral tissue becomes white (the skeleton), typically resulting in coral death. No mention of the coral's ability to take up new plants and no mention of loss of colour as a result of banishing its plants, or algae. Next, we are told, we must actively maintain the health of coral reefs around the islands and coasts of the world, prioritising those at peril of bleaching. Human interference in other words. However, the Phys Org piece comes from The Conversation and therefore the author is writing about an older publication which is of course the one referred to by Ridd, coral scientists hedging their bets and shifting away from the activists in fear of the truth being revealed. This is further evidenced by the nub of the piece which tells us corals are actively in stress mode – all the time. It is their natural state of being. Unlike other cells they can stay in stress mode at all times which is not very surprising as the Pacific and Indian oceans are subject to the welling up of warmer or cooler waters during El Nino and La Nina events. Corals have adapted to reality – a sudden shift in ocean near surface temperatures which can change rapidly. They are in stress mode as they are constantly in readiness for taking action to counteract the changes and dead corals are the ones that left it a bit late. Coral bleaching is all part of the defence system developed by corals – so it would seem. We already know that corals are very clever organisms as they can quickly respond to rising sea levels or move location with lower sea levels.

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