The ocean, microbes and biodiversity

Human beings have such a habit of underestimating things. A recent survey of the ocean suggests that the Earth’s bioversity may be ten times more than previously thought.

In a single litre of sea water scientists can have as many as 20,000 species of microbes – they were only expecting to find two thousand. This number means that there could be more than ten million species of microbes alone.

Dr Sogin, one of the members of the research team in the new findings, said, “It really points to our lack of knowledge and how much more there is to learn.”

But should not the greatness of this number in itself teach us that it is impossible to master the knowledge? Should it not tell us that there will always be more to learn? And should it not make us aware of the fact that we are really insignifcant in the scheme of things?

We are but one species among tens of milllions if not hundreds or even thousands. It is estimated that the average species has a lifespan of 100,000 years. Some of these have changed little from since the beginning. Others have come and gone without us even knowing. And Man’s vanity has kept his species going for perhaps much too long.

Today we know approximately the age of our planet (3.5 billion years old) and how much longer it will exist if no “hiccups” occur (another 3.5 billion years). The Earth is middle aged. The present human species, with our ability to understand and record history in our own unique way, has only been here for 10,000 years. Some may stretch that back to thirty thousand years more. Either way the rest of the history of the planet makes this time – our time – insignificant.

I doubt we, as intelligent comprehending animals, will last much more than another 50,000 years. And that is being generous I think. But as for life itself it will go on as if nothing happened until the very end because we are just another species among millions, millions that have been far more successful at surviving than we have been so far.

We think six billion human beings is a great number when on our very bodies we may find more than that of any one species of microbes.

4 thoughts on “The ocean, microbes and biodiversity”

  1. Is not science more like a river than a rock, always changing, never the same twice? 2000 years ago science said everything revolved around the earth, now science says the sun. Once science said the earth to be flat, now we say it to be round. Atoms were once said to be indivisible, now science says they are.

    How much science is not fact or law, but is only theory still!!


  2. “But later the not caring just turned out to be “caring” about not caring.”

    Doesn’t it always! Thanks for the ‘social’ call ;) I’ve not been too social myself, lately. Don’t remember when I sent the delicious mark, but glad you found it.

    Visit the new site, sometime, when you have a minute or two. I placed one of my papers there you might be interested in:

    Finally found some of the others on my disk… I will put them up somewhere when I get a chance.

    Hope you and yours are well!

    Kind regards,


  3. The past, persent and future are also interdependent. So why should you not care.

    To be honest I used to think like you do also. But later the not caring just turned out to be “caring” about not caring.


  4. I heard man as we are today goes back as far as 100 000 yrs. I’m not sure if the earth is only a mere few thousand years old as my conservative friends believe or billions like my scientific friends. Don’t know, don’t care, what matters is the present and near past & future. Even though everything in of itself is never independent but interdependent.


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