WHY NOT DIP INTO OUR OBELISK SEVEN BLOG – IT HAS MORE STUFF YOU MIGHT LIKE!
... The Bug Hunter
Kate Stanton meets Nick Kangles in the square of the Pantheon, when they share a table out of the rain sweeping the square. He is travelling the world to convert people to fighting global warming by setting up greenhouse gas trading schemes, while she has been called in to help find out what is eating the carbon in the massive oil deposit in the Ghawar Field in Saudi Arabia.
Gliffy nicknames her The Bug Hunter, as she uses her skill as a microbiologist to hunt a mysterious microbe.
The Bug spreads to a coal field in the Shanxi Province of China. Soon afterwards it is found in an oil field deep below the Zhiguli Mountains, at the Samara bend of the Volga River, the longest river in the world.
And then the Bug leaps across the ocean to the massive oil sands in the province of Alberta, Canada.
... CondoBugs and Methane Eaters
In between running three teams of scientists seeking an answer to the mysterious microbe, Kate joins Nick and Gliffy in the hunt for the signals coming from the Singers.
She thinks she has found a clue to the microbe from the results found by a team of researchers on the Jago submarine, which spent time examining chimneys of microbes on the bottom of the Black Sea. She thinks the Bug has two levels, like those in the Black Sea, and living on methane gas.
"That was the clue we needed for the Bug," she continued. "I now believe the Bug is really a microbe condominium. A two-level condominium, like the ones in the Black Sea."
"A bug condo," Nick said.
... The Bug Squeeze on oil supplies
Kate is invited to join an emergency task force set up by the US President to find an answer to the microbe which is consuming carbon. Tension spreads when word leaks out about the Bug, and people start hoarding gasoline in panic.
A scramble for oil supplies leads to violence, with the Turkish navy setting a Russian oil tanker ablaze in the Bosphorus Strait.
Kate copies the experiments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory by Mow Lin and Eugene Premuzic, who bred bacteria which they trained to thrive on oil:
"Sounds like a kind of human-induced Darwinian experiment."
"That's exactly what it was." She laughed quietly to herself. "Applied Darwinism. These new coal eating microbes break the coal into simpler molecules - just like the Bug does - and remove the heavy metal contaminants."
She signaled to the waiter for some more wine.
"The point is, we were pretty far down the road to designer microbes, including ones which eat coal, before the Bug came along."
Nick enlists the aid of the Belgian Bulldog to hunt down a young man who used to work at Brookhaven, whom Kate thinks might somehow be involved in the Bug.
To read our blog post on the toughest bug (microbe) of them all, Conan the Bacterium, click here; and about how tough bugs can help us, click here; and about the man who invented life's view of coal eating bugs, click here.
Bacteria - Collecting extremophiles from the Carlsbad Caverns in USA
Bacteria - Home of arsenic eating bacteria in Mono Lake California 2010
Oil eating microbes
A tough bug - tardigrade or water bear
Methane eating microbes