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article imageParadise, photosynthetic bacteria and terraforming

By Walter McDaniel     Jul 29, 2014 in Science
Cyanobacteria may have played a vital role in creating one of the most beautiful places on earth. Researchers are currently studying what rule the organisms played in creating one of the most beautiful areas of nature in the world.
Photographers and journalists all know that the Bahamas is a place of unparalleled natural beauty. Scientists have studied how this happened for as long as they have had access to it. Now a newly-released paper asserts that bacteria played a role in its creation.
According to their research photosynthetic cyanobacteria took in sunlight, dust and even nitrogen from the surrounding environment. Science behind this being possible is well understood as these tiny organisms have many useful roles in our natural ecological cycle.
What teams have tested and are still testing is whether conditions were right for these organisms bolster a natural reef. Allegedly organisms absorbed dust from the Sahara. Cyanobacteria acted as a food source for other parts of the ecosystem. Iron, nitrogen and other materials were then carried through various organisms which deposited these substances along reefs.
As always more research is underway but scientists believe that along with other organisms these bacteria processed, trapped and deposited materials along the structure to create the reefs we see today. If findings prove true these cyanobacteria could be more useful in carbon trapping than we thought since they benefit other organisms which take in carbon.
Team members include Peter Swart from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Florida have been doing research on this for years.
While interesting the process does have a downside, by all accounts it would take millions of years for them to make a serious impact on our levels of carbon dioxide. For now the process is too slow to have a serious impact on climate change.
As such while they cannot do all the work, they could become a crucial factor in terraforming. What many people do not realize is that this technology is not just for other planets. If we find a way to positively change the natural environment of another planet we could use the same technology here. Some teams already have plans underway.
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