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Fri Oct 26, 2012, 09:40 PM

The seafloor is home to a vast electrical network created by bacteria

Annalee Newitz
It sounds a little bit like one of the subplots in Avatar, where we discover that the moon Pandora possesses a kind of mega-consciousness created by bio-electrical circuitry. But this is actually real. Two years ago, researchers discovered a strange electro-chemical signature in the sludge at the bottom of Aarhus Bay in Denmark. Now, they've discovered what was causing it: a vast network of bacteria that form electrical connections with each other, almost like nerve cells in the brain.

Above, you can see what you might call tiny electrical wires that connect each bacterial cell, under an electron microscope. The wires are blue, and they are running through a piece of sediment, or sand from the seafloor.

Over at Wired Science, Brandon Keim explains:

The bacteria were first detected in 2010 by researchers perplexed at chemical fluctuations in sediments from the bottom of Aarhus Bay . . . Almost instantaneously linking changing oxygen levels in water with reactions in mud nearly an inch below, the fluctuations occurred too fast to be explained by chemistry.

Only an electrical signal made sense but no known bacteria could transmit electricity across such comparatively vast distances. Were bacteria the size of humans, the signals would be making a journey 12 miles long.

Now the mysterious bacteria have been identified. They belong to a microbial family called Desulfobulbaceae, though they share just 92 percent of their genes with any previously known member of that family. They deserve to be considered a new genus, the study of which could open a new scientific frontier for understanding the interface of biology, geology and chemistry across the undersea world.


more
http://io9.com/5955390/the-seafloor-is-home-to-a-vast-electrical-network-created-by-bacteria

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Reply The seafloor is home to a vast electrical network created by bacteria (Original post)
n2doc Oct 2012 OP
silvershadow Oct 2012 #1
littlemissmartypants Oct 2012 #2
Tigress DEM Oct 2012 #3
kickysnana Oct 2012 #4
bananas Oct 2012 #5
Odin2005 Oct 2012 #6

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 09:42 PM

1. Maybe in areas not contaminated by oil, which was dispersed to the sea floor (allegedly). n/t

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 09:44 PM

2. I LOVE

stuff like this! Thanks so much for posting.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 09:45 PM

3. There's the power supply for biological computers! Or maybe just the conduits.

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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 12:12 AM

4. Until they rebel their enslavement and destroy the human race...

by massive identity theft.
Oh my, did I say that out loud?

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 12:47 AM

5. That page at io9 has disappeared, but it's still in google's cache

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 02:15 PM

6. Sounds like something out of a 70's sci-fi novel!

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