Author / Speaker

She is right. There are worse things than Lyngbya majuscula. Oh, yes.   

Again, in the deeps, something you don’t (yet) see. In velvet darkness, magma-heated water spews from the rock chimneys sprouting from the ocean floor. At each chimney opening, the temperature is 750 degrees Fahrenheit. Just away from the super-heated blasts, it is cool enough for the shrimp to survive. Nature’s perfect juxtaposition.

The shrimp pile atop each other, layer upon layer. They crawl up the rock chimneys and along the nearby sea floor. They have survived in this food-scarce wasteland courtesy of the bacteria inside them. The bacteria absorb the hydrogen sulfide spewing from the chimneys and turn it to carbohydrate. Food for the shrimp. Your scientists think there may be mutualistic relationships like this on other planets. Maybe you will find out.

Here at this particular collection of chimneys, pronging up off the bottom like rough sorcerer’s hats, mutualism ends. The shrimp jerk and writhe. In time, most of the shrimp are still. The bacteria no longer need them. They have made the necessary adjustments to survive on their own. They move away on the current like blossoms in the wind. Dispersing.

An unexpected turn.

What you have poured into the oceans has changed the chemistry of the seas. The oceans are becoming hospitable again to primitive organisms. Infinitesimal things -- tucked away for millions of years in small, meaningless numbers -- are now receiving the nutrients they need. You have put a match to the pilot light.

These bacteria from the vents, they will make Lyngbya majuscule look like a perfumed kerchief.