Sunday, October 25, 2015

Animals (and Plants) in a Microbial World

For my fourth "Mu-Tube" video, I decided to explore some student reactions to a currently shifting paradigm:  that all animals (and plants) have co-evolved in concert with what is innately a microbial world.

As depicted on the Biology 350 (Microbiology) button Kaitlin Reiss and I made for my classes a few years ago reads (in honor of Frank Sinatra): "It's a microbial world; we just live in it."

Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai has been a long term proselytizer of this One True Microbial Faith™ in recent years, helping to put together this fine Perspectives essay in the Proceeds of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013, and authoring an eloquent extension of this argument in the pages of Experimental Biology in 2015.  

So...I assigned a blog review of the 2013 paper, and Dr. McFall-Ngai's 2015 paper, to my Biology 350 Micronauts.  The students read and ruminated on the contents.  I then briefly interviewed each of them, and recorded their reactions.  I hope you enjoy them in this fourth "Mu-Tube" video.

Even though I apparently fear the small green light at the top of my computer when I record these (I think I need a teleprompter), I am a True Microbial Believer™. And I think the same is becoming true for my Micronauts.

As for me:  avete parvuli Domini.  All Hail the Small Masters! Heck, I even paid to have that motto permanently placed onto my own skin! 

My course logo this year, again,  is to have my students look at the world a whole new way, as if with "microbially colored glasses."  

I think I am making progress with my Micronauts this Fall.

What do you think?  Do you feel the Microbial Supremacy all around and within you?

First evolved.  Last extinct.

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I am happy to hear your comments and suggestions. I hope to avoid spammage. We shall see how that works out!