A Good Science Story

A friend sent along a link to Erika Niedowski’s piece in the Baltimore Sun over the weekend about a bunch of researchers studying extremophiles at the end of the Earth. No politics here, no big breakthroughs, just some delightful writing. As my friend said, “Sometimes a good science story is just a good science story.”

Beyond the boardwalk, Karpov traipses through high grass, low grass, shrubs, marshland and muck of every consistency and color. He wades through a lake. He traverses a stream. Finally, he reaches his destination: a cluster of living stromatolites hidden in the middle of a reedy marsh. They look like ordinary rocks. But fossil stromatolites, thought to have been formed by a photosynthesizing kind of bacteria once called blue-green algae, contain evidence of some of the oldest forms of life.

“You can see how a place like this gets into your blood,” says Elizabeth Burgess, a doctoral student at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, who has a tendency to utter snippets of poetry to her sediment samples.