Final letter from Mario the Marinobacter

posted Sep 1, 2010, 12:43 AM by Beth Orcutt
Greetings, microbe friends! Here’s the final letter from Mario the Marinobacter about his adventures in the oceanic crust and triumphant return to the surface world – SAM 

So I was just getting acquainted with my new neighborhood, oxidizing a little iron from the rock, munching on some loose carbon, and I feel this nudge on my back. At least, I think it was my back – sometimes I have a hard time telling my front from my back, since other than my flagellum, I pretty much look the same from all sides. Anyways, I turn around and there's Lenny! He's lit up like Lindsey Lohan on a bender, and boy, does he have a story to tell. Seems he was pulled into the same ship as me, but instead of getting pumped down into the seafloor, he was filtered out of the water and stained with some kind of fluorescent dye. Then he got mixed in with a bunch of fluorescent balls and mixed back in with seawater and pumped down into the seafloor. It was funny, but once he got moving through the rock, he was flowing pretty good, but the smaller spheres were moving faster in the cracks and gaps in the rock, and Lenny and the other fluorescent stained microbes got left behind. So now we are back together. Lenny told me that there is another big metal pipe just a short distance away, so we went over to look at it, and sun of a gun, we got sucked into another tube! This time we were going up, up, up, and the tube was made of some kind of inert material that we couldn't eat. We don't fight the flow, just go along for the ride, and then we come out and you will never believe what we see: a white submarine! 

One arm of the sub is holding a bottle attached to the tube we are flowing through, and we flow into that bottle. Then the next thing you know, we are carried up in the ocean, and then it starts to get warmer and brighter, and Bang! There we are at the surface again. So I says to Lenny, "Bug, no one is going to believe this story." We figure we'll keep it to ourselves for a while (other than telling you, that is). It was a fun adventure, but I think we are both glad to be back in the surface ocean again.