You Think That’s Air You’re Breathing Now?

Skies Full of Life: Microbes May Thrive in the High Atmosphere

Maybe we are trapped in the Matrix and don’t know if we are breathing air. I, personally, think it’s safe to say we are actually breathing air. The better question is what’s in our air? I usually just think of air as a mixture of gases, but it is full of other things too, like pollen, bugs, and germs. Air is always thought of as a carrier, never it’s own thriving ecosystem. There are many types of ecosystems in the world, but they are always in aquatic or terrestrial environments. This article broaches the idea of having an ecosystem in the atmosphere. Scientists collected air samples during hurricane studies and found thousands of airborne microorganisms in them. It is the first time microscopic life from the upper atmosphere has been cataloged. Scientists showed that microbes made it to the troposphere from well-populated areas on earth. Only specially adapted microbes can survive the trip to the upper troposphere. Some researchers believe that while floating in the abyss, these microbes go into hibernation. However, since the atmosphere has a significant amount of oxalic acid, a food source for the traveling bacteria, other researchers believe the bacteria could actually be growing and reproducing during their journey. There is no proof yet to support this claim, but if it is true, the atmosphere would be considered a working ecosystem! The other interesting research mentioned in this article is that these microbes are the right size and texture to facilitate water condensation or ice formation! These little microbes could potentially be playing a major role in weather patterns. Really interesting stuff!

 

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