19 Mar In search of Noah’s Ark
We live in times of struggle against Covid-19 which seems to have declared war on mankind.
A frightening pandemic capable of stopping all activity on the planet and stifling the economic development with disastrous consequences.
A fatality? There are many scientists who theorize that the imbalance of equilibria in various ecosystems can cause the development of very aggressive viruses which can endanger humanity. Despite lesser media coverage, similar phenomena are taking place in the deep sea and that is causing the extinction of entire species. Particularly, warming seas are causing the death of several gorgonian forests.
Beyond the importance of individual beings, forests constitute an environment in which dozens of other species thrive. Just as a fire or a parasite kills all trees in a forest: it would be the end for birds, insects, undergrowth plants and in general for all living beings that populate them. This is happening in our Mediterranean. And the mass mortal event is not caused by the fact that sea fans can’t stand the heat. But by the overpopulation that abnormal heat generates in a deadly vibrio (Vibrio coralliticus) which exterminates whole colonies. Just like an epidemic.
But Lorenzo Bramanti, one of the best researchers in this field, has discovered a few ships, located at great depths, which were sunk during the Second World War. These ships are populated by luxuriant forests of sea fans. And they have not been attacked by the deadly bacterium. This is because beyond a certain depth, climate warming is not so marked. Lorenzo dives. These are adventurous dives, up to and over a hundred meters deep. In that very place scientists will collect samples of the entire colony. The goal is to understand if these colonies are independent and autonomous, or if these branches descend from larvae of unknown origin. DNA studies will answer Lorenzo’s questions.
We hope that colonies are independent and that those ancient ships will be a kind of Noah’s Ark, from which larvae will leave and colonize the sea beds depleted by the epidemic, saving the species from extinction.