Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Mighty Microbes

        The old adage "Out of sight. Out of mind." could be aptly applied to mighty microbes. We can't see microbes with the naked eye so we go about our business as if they weren't there. This causes us to live our lives and make decisions which do not favor microbes. It's easy to argue for the protection of species which are noticeable and if they have spectacular features it's easier yet. To protect and conserve one species everything has to be considered. That one species fits into an eco system and that's the best way to protect the one species. An eco system is made up of interconnecting parts. Each species supports the other in some way even if it happens to be prey for another species.

       I taught junior high science for awhile. In one unit we had the kids bring a small sample of pond water. We showed the kids how to make a slide and use a microscope. When they looked at their water sample, there in front of their eyes were microbes. Now with a school microscope you don't see much, but they did find out about microbes and saw them move, their shape and color. They kept bringing more water samples as they were intrigued by what they saw.

      Microbes are common everywhere and have important roles to play. It was surprising for me to find out microbes are in snow and ice. Microbes on snow and ice you say? Yes. There are also insects on snow at certain times. Ever see snow fleas? I would like to see decisions on environmental issues start with microbes. We have water use issues. Various parts of society are competing for an ever decreasing amount of water. Decision makers only consider the water and not the life which is sustained by the water.

     I wish more people would become acquainted with microbes on a realistic basis. Then maybe decisions made about natural habitat might be made easier and more species would have a better chance of long term survival.