Just coming off the deadlines for suggesting changes to the designer’s files for my next book, Through Early Yellowstone, I want to pass on a delightful link from the Yellowstone Insider. On January 27th publisher Kevin Reichard passed on some interesting news published in Jackson Hole News and Guide. Hey! Sharing good stuff is what the Web is for, isn’t it?
My interest in microorganisms stems from a Yellowstone Institute class I took with researcher Anna-Louise Reysenbach way back in July 1999. Microbial research is a fascinating but very complex subject, and in recent years I’ve been learning and writing more about it. Take a look at my website “nuggets” from July 8 and 9, 2014, on “Yellowstone Park and the Quest for the Origins of Life.”
In a nutshell, some major research bodies, such as the USGS, NOAA, and several universities, are collaborating with the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration to build a research boat and diving robot that will explore the bottom of Yellowstone Lake.
If all goes as planned, starting next summer the robot will take pictures and return samples of what it finds there. This will follow up on lake bottom research reported by USGS scientist Lisa Morgan and colleagues as part of a series of articles published in 2007: “Integrated Geoscience Studies in the Greater Yellowstone Area,” USGS Professional Paper 1717.
For more details and a fascinating ten-minute video from the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration—starring microbial ecologist Dr. Reysenbach—watch this:
Although the video does not show us any microbes (seen only under a microscope), it does show some views of the thermal vents on the ocean bottom, teaming with hitherto unknown life.
I can’t resist an aside: Anna-Louise converts 60 degrees Celsius to “about 120 degrees Fahrenheit,” but that should be 140 degrees F. For a quick answer to this sort of question I always use the little conversion chart I put on page 363 in Yellowstone Treasures, updated fourth edition.
Photo credit: This photo from page 144 of Yellowstone Treasures was taken by Bruno Giletti.