Pharyngula

You know those deep icy fields of methane hydrates Japan wants to tap for natural gas? (One of the worst ideas ever, by the way.) They’re inhabited, by polychaetes like Hesiocaeca methanicola.

arctic-worms

(via NatGeo, which is a bit too uncritical of the idea for my taste.)

Comments

  1. #1 George Wiman
    April 2, 2013

    Huh. Wonder what kind of life there is on Titan then?

  2. #2 David Marjanović
    Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
    April 2, 2013

    Polychaetes breathe oxygen. On Titan there’s no oxygen.

  3. #3 Arctodus23
    The Human Genome
    April 7, 2013

    Hey David, it doesn’t matter if there’s no oxygen. Those “life forms” (if their are any), don’t need oxygen. They could easily breath another gas.

  4. #4 bughunter
    April 7, 2013

    PZ did you read the paragraph where Lavelle compares Methane to Carbon Dioxide? It echoes my immediate reaction to hearing that methane clathrates were targeted for fuel extraction… “better to release it as CO2 than CH4.” I don’t doubt you knew this but it may explain why Lavelle’s tone is less critical than you expect.

    Her companion piece goes into detail as to why: more methane than ever is seeping into the atmosphere.

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/12/methane/lavelle-text

  5. #5 Arctodus23
    The Human Genome
    April 7, 2013

    @ Bughunter, Myers barely responds to comments on the scienceblogs version.

  6. #6 David Marjanović
    Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
    April 8, 2013

    They could easily breath another gas.

    Or indeed a solid dissolved in liquid methane. But what could that be? Are there methane-soluble sulfides?

  7. #7 David Marjanović
    Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
    April 8, 2013

    Oops, forgot:

    “better to release it as CO2 than CH4.”

    Into the atmosphere, yes. Into the sea, where it gets from the atmosphere, no. The oceans are already acidifying to a scary degree.