Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Life in the Clouds

This article, When Life Goes Cloudy by evolutionary biologist Olivia Judson, discusses the idea of microbes--bacteria, algae, fungi, and other tiny organisms--living in clouds. The paper in Geophysical Research Letters which she is basing this post on went further, claiming that not only do microbes travel via clouds, but that some of them actually live there - growing, metabolizing, reproducing - until plummeting back to earth when the cloud rains. Some scientists don't believe clouds are stable enough to sustain life, but the idea that the apparently lifeless clouds over our heads contain fully functional complex microbial ecosystems is an intriguing one.

Life finds a way.

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