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  • Can you guess what this is?

    譯者: Lilian Chiu 審譯者: Zoe Chang

  • What if I told you there's a place where the creatures are made of glass?


  • Or that there are life-forms that are invisible to us,

    如果我說有個地方的生物 都是玻璃做的,你信嗎?

  • but astronauts see them all the time?


  • These invisible glass creatures aren't aliens on a faraway exoplanet.


  • They're diatoms:

    這些看不見的玻璃生物並非 太陽系以外的外星生物。

  • photosynthetic, single-celled algae responsible for producing oxygen


  • and helping seed clouds on a planetary scale

    一種單細胞藻類, 能行光合作用產生氧氣,

  • and with intricately sculpted, geometric exoskeletons made of --


  • yeah, glass.

    看似精細雕刻的 幾何形狀外殼的成份是──

  • You can see them in swirls of ocean-surface colors from space.


  • And when they die,

    從太空中所看到海面上 深淺不同的渦流,就是矽藻。

  • their glass houses sink to the depths of the oceans,

    矽藻死亡時,它們的 玻璃外殼沉入海洋深處,

  • taking carbon out of the air

    同時將大氣中的碳 一起帶入墳墓,

  • and with them to the grave,

    海洋中的碳封存量 絕大部分是它們貢獻的。

  • accounting for a significant amount of carbon sequestration in the oceans.


  • We live on an alien planet.


  • There is so much weird life here on Earth to study,


  • and so much of it lives at the edges of our world,

    我們視線的邊緣 及人類知識的邊緣。

  • of our sight and of our understanding.


  • One of those edges is Antarctica.


  • Typically, when we think about Antarctica,


  • we think of a place that's barren and lifeless ...


  • except for a few penguins.

    但南極洲其實應該被視為 物種的極地綠洲,

  • But Antarctica should instead be known as a polar oasis of life,


  • host to countless creatures that are utterly fascinating.


  • So why haven't we seen them on the latest nature documentary?


  • Well, they lurk beneath the snow and ice,


  • virtually invisible to us.


  • They're microbes:


  • tiny plants and animals living embedded inside of glaciers,

    在海冰下方,或冰川以下的 地下儲水層中活動。

  • underneath the sea ice

    它們的魅力可不輸那些 大自然紀錄片中常見的大型動物。

  • and swimming in subglacial ponds.

    問題是怎樣鼓勵人們 去探索看不見的生物呢?

  • And they're no less charismatic than any of the megafauna

    我最近帶了一個 為期五週的考察團去南極,

  • that you're used to seeing in a nature documentary.

    這趟旅程讓我簡直成了 微生物的野生動物影片製作人。

  • But how do you compel people to explore what they can't see?

    帶著 185 磅的裝備,登上軍機,

  • I recently led a five-week expedition to Antarctica


  • to essentially become a wildlife filmmaker at the microbial scale.


  • With 185 pounds of gear,


  • I boarded a military aircraft

    但所知極少的生態系統 有進一步的了解。

  • and brought microscopes into the field

    為了拍攝這些 看不見的生物的活動,

  • to film and investigate these microscopic extremophiles,


  • so that we can become more familiar with a poorly understood ecosystem


  • that we live with here on Earth.

    每年,海冰的形成會讓 南極洲面積增加幾乎一倍。

  • To film these invisible creatures in action,


  • I needed to see where they call home --

    我得爬入一根穿入海冰中的 金屬管狀通道,

  • I needed to venture under the ice.


  • Every year, the sea ice nearly doubles the entire size of Antarctica.

    去親眼目睹一個不為人知、 充滿生命力的生態系統。

  • To get a glimpse below the nine-feet-thick ice,


  • I climbed down a long, metal tube inserted into the sea ice


  • to witness a hidden ecosystem full of life,


  • while being suspended between the seafloor and the illuminated ceiling of ice.

    像是種蝦(藍眼淚)、 還有美麗幾何形狀的矽藻。

  • Here's what that looked like from the outside.

    我也去了更偏遠的麥克默多旱谷, 在那紮營了兩週。

  • It was just absolutely magical.

    南極洲有 98% 被冰覆蓋,

  • Some of the critters I found were delightful things like seed shrimp

    麥克默多旱谷是南極唯一 沒被冰雪覆蓋的地方,

  • and many more beautiful, geometric diatoms.


  • I then went farther afield to camp out in the Dry Valleys


  • for a couple of weeks.

    血瀑是由於地下儲水層 噴出氧化鐵的自然現象,

  • 98 percent of Antarctica is covered with ice

    直到十多年前,大家都還 認為那裡沒有任何物種。

  • and the Dry Valleys are the largest area of Antarctica where you can actually see


  • what the continent itself looks like underneath all of it.

    發現無數生命力強韌的生物, 悠遊自在地活在冰層中。

  • I sampled bacteria at Blood Falls,


  • a natural phenomenon of a subglacial pond spurting out iron oxide

    來自於細小的深色灰塵 被吹到冰河表面,

  • that was thought to be utterly lifeless until a little more than a decade ago.

    塵埃處的冰融化,形成濃湯似的坑, 之後表面又再度結冰,

  • And I hiked up a glacier to drill down into it,


  • revealing countless, hardcore critters living their best lives


  • while embedded inside layers of ice.


  • Known as cryoconite holes,

    你可能認得某些我發現的生物, 例如這類可愛的緩步動物──

  • they form when tiny pieces of darkly colored dirt

    我好愛牠們,看起來就像 有爪子的小熊軟糖。

  • get blown onto the glacier


  • and begin to melt down into soupy holes that then freeze over,


  • preserving hundreds of dirt pucks inside the glacier,


  • like little island universes

    但你無須親自造訪太空 或南極洲去看牠們。

  • each with its own unique ecosystem.


  • Some of the critters I found you may recognize,


  • like this adorable tardigrade --

    很可能你每天經過的路邊就有 一大堆這種生物,卻視而不見。

  • I absolutely love them,

    另外有些看似眼熟 卻不認識的生物,例如線蟲類。

  • they're like little gummy bears with claws.

    線蟲類既非蛇也非蚯蚓, 牠們自成一類。

  • Also known as a water bear,

    牠們沒有蚯蚓的再生能力, 也沒有蛇的爬行方式,

  • they're famous for possessing superpowers


  • that allow them to survive in extreme conditions,

    那是牠們用來刺穿、捕殺獵物 並吸光內臟的工具。

  • including the vacuum of space.

    地球上人類與線蟲的比例 大約是 1: 570億。

  • But you don't need to travel to space or even Antarctica to find them.

    還有一些你可能完全不知道, 但同樣迷人的生物,

  • They live in moss all over this planet,

    例如,頂著漂亮的冠的輪蟲, 它的冠可變成像掃地機器人般的嘴巴,

  • from sidewalk cracks to parks.

    以及具有透明消化系統的纖毛蟲, 胃裡的食物一覽無遺,不想看都不行,

  • You likely walk right by tons of these invisible animals every day.

    以及培養皿上到處都是的藍綠藻, 看起來就像派對上的彩色紙屑。

  • Others may look familiar,


  • but be stranger still, like nematodes.


  • Not a snake nor an earthworm,


  • nematodes are a creature all of their own.


  • They can't regenerate like an earthworm or crawl like a snake,

    即便在戶外的環境中 牠們幾乎無所不在。

  • but they have tiny, dagger-like needles inside their mouths

    牠們的日常是什麼樣子? 跟環境的互動又是如何?

  • that some of them use to spearfish their prey and suck out the insides.


  • For every single human on this planet,


  • there exist 57 billion nematodes.


  • And some of the critters you may not recognize at all


  • but live out equally fascinating lives,

    我們才能清楚了解 這些本來看不見的生物。

  • such as rotifers with amazing crowns that turn into Roomba-like mouths,

    透過記錄南極,甚至自家 後院中那些看不見的生物,

  • ciliates with digestive systems so transparent that it's almost TMI,

    我們才能得知有多少生物 和我們共存在這個世界上。

  • and cyanobacteria that look like party confetti exploded all over a petri dish.


  • A lot of times what we see in popular media

    我們所居住的這個 不可思議、奇妙的地球。

  • are scanning electron microscope images of microorganisms


  • looking like scary monsters.

  • Without seeing them move their lives remain elusive to us

  • despite them living nearly everywhere we step outside.

  • What's their daily life like?

  • How do they interact with their environment?

  • If you only ever saw a photo of a penguin at a zoo,

  • but you never saw one waddle around and then glide over ice,

  • you wouldn't fully understand penguins.

  • By seeing microcreatures in motion,

  • we gain better insights into the lives of the otherwise invisible.

  • Without documenting the invisible life in Antarctica and our own backyards,

  • we don't understand just how many creatures we share our world with.

  • And that means we don't yet have the full picture

  • of our weird and whimsical home planet.

  • Thank you.

Can you guess what this is?

譯者: Lilian Chiu 審譯者: Zoe Chang


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