Fall Nature Discovery #2 – The Last Unexplored Environment?

Humans are natural explorers. From the beginning of time we have wanted to know what things looked like over the hill and across the ocean. Our legs took us wherever they could, and then humans invented ships and cars, submarines and space shuttles.
It is really possible that there is an unexplored environment on planet earth?

That’s what a recent artice is Discovery Magazine claims.

According to scientist Jessica Green, “We live nearly 90 percent of our lives indoors, but we know almost nothing about that environment. We don’t think about the wildlife in the air because we can’t see it. But it’s here.”

Think about it! Your home does not house you and your family alone. There are microorganisms living on the surface of literally everything in your home – from furniture to floors. And there are microorganisms living in the very air “flowing around us and into our eyes, noses, mouths, and lungs Millions of microbes fight for survival.”
“Air isn’t empty,” Green continues. Not even close: A cubic meter of indoor air contains up to 10 million cells of bacteria. “Each one of us is shedding microbes from our bodies and resuspending microbes that have settled on the floor, on desks, on trash cans. They’re swirling all around us. We’re constantly walking through a microbial soup.”

Few scientists know more about that soup than Green, a 42-year-old theoretical ecologist and the director of the University of Oregon’s Biology and the Built Environment (BiobBE) Center. Created just two years ago, the BioBE Center has quickly become a global hub for research into the biology of the great indoors. At the center, microbiologists collaborate with architects and evolutionary ecologists on research that may ultimately influence how buildings are designed and constructed in the coming decades. They believe creating a healthy indoor microbial environment is not merely a matter of wiping desks and mopping floors.

Hmm. All things brings to mind some line from a sci fi scene I’ve watched somewhere, “We are not alone.” Apparently not.

Thinking about all the creatures that share our living spaces with us can be a little unsettling. But it gets even worse. Not only do we share our living spaces with other creatures, we share our very bodies with millions of helpful microorganisms that live on our skin as well as in our digestive and respiratory systems.

Life is complex – and absolutely amazing.

Want to know more? Discovery news is a great place to start. http://disoverymagazine.com


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