Watershed Ways

Watershed Ways" is a newspaper column written by various members and board members of the Ottawa River Institute, about the many wonderful processes and connections in the cycles of life in the Ottawa River watershed. It also covers ways that we human beings are learning to live more in harmony with our surrounding environments.

The Pembroke Observer, Renfrew Mercury, Arnprior Chronicle-Guide and the Madawaska Highlander are running the column on a regular basis. If you are a reader of another valley newspaper, and you would like to read Watershed Ways in your weekly paper, please let us and the editor of the paper in question know!

Do you know of someone who is doing something innovative to conserve resources or practice sustainable living? If so, please let us know so we can write an article about them! You can e-mail us at info@ottawariverinstitute.ca

Our most current Watershed Ways articles are available below, and others are archived here.

Buzz about the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail

By Ole Hendrickson

It’s easy to see why people are excited about the County of Renfrew’s purchase of the discontinued CP Rail corridor. The County now owns the major portion of a 296-km trail extending along the former rail line from Smiths Falls through Carleton Place, Almonte and Arnprior to Mattawa. Within Renfrew County, plans are being made to develop a multi-use trail through the Ottawa Valley from Arnprior to Deux Rivieres, passing through Braeside, Sand Point, Renfrew, Haley Station, Cobden, Pembroke, Petawawa, Chalk River, Mackey, Stonecliffe and Bissett Creek. This new “Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail” also will connect to the County’s existing K&P trail in Renfrew, with access to Calabogie.

(Click here to read entire article.)

A Watershed Moment for Renfrew County

By Ole Hendrickson

The County of Renfrew has released a draft of its new Official Plan as a “framework for growth and development in the County.” Among the Plan’s proposed objectives are to “maintain and enhance the quality of the natural, built and human environments in the County;” to “identify and protect renewable and non-renewable resources;” and to “ensure that development occurs in a sustainable manner, which considers the natural water systems, environmentally sensitive areas and hazard lands.”

The County will hold seven meetings from August 8 to 23 (in Cobden, Eganville, Arnprior, Calabogie, Chalk River, Barry’s Bay and Renfrew) to “engage, inform and seek input from County residents on the proposed changes to the Official Plan.”

(click here to read entire article)

Eastern Hemlock – Our Next Endangered Tree Species?

By Ole Hendrickson

In spring and summer 2002, entomologists first collected a small, bright green beetle from ash trees in the Windsor-Detroit area. None had ever seen this insect before. Two months passed before a taxonomist in Slovakia identified it as Agrilus planipennis, an Asian member of the family Buprestidae. This family has about 15,000 species, with brightly-coloured adults (“jewel beetles”) and larvae that bore through stems, leaves, roots and logs.

The September 2002 issue of the Newsletter of the Michigan Entomological Society notes that the likely pathway for arrival of this species in North America was infested wood crates or pallets carrying imported goods from Asia. Judging from the area of affected ash trees, the beetle had probably been present for at least five years before being detected. Scientists quickly recognized that it might spread throughout the entire range of ash in North America, causing serious economic and environmental damage, and attracting considerable media interest. It needed a common name, and “Emerald Ash Borer” was chosen. (click here to read the entire article)

Monarchs at Substantial Risk of Extinction

By Ole Hendrickson

As described in the film Flight of the Butterflies, University of Toronto scientist Fred Urquhart and his wife Norah patiently studied the migration of the Monarch butterfly for decades, searching for its winter home. They engaged hundreds of citizen scientists in placing tiny tags on butterflies in late summer just before migration. Recoveries of tagged butterflies eventually helped locate the Monarchs’ remote, fir-covered mass roosting sites in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountain range in 1975.

In January 1976, when Fred and Norah visited the site, a branch heavily laden with butterflies crashed down at Fred’s feet. Amazingly, he almost immediately found a Monarch that had been tagged and released by two Minnesota schoolboys a few months earlier. This provided conclusive proof that this remarkable individual butterfly had completed a long-distance flight to central Mexico. (Click here to read the entire article)

A Tale of Two Wetlands – the Carp and the Snake

By Ole Hendrickson

Canada is wet.

Indigenous peoples used lakes and rivers as their primary means of transportation. European newcomers quickly adapted, finding the canoe vastly superior to their old-world watercraft. Both pursued aquatic mammals - beaver, otter, mink and muskrat – fueling the fur trade.

Abundant water was not always welcomed by later European arrivals. Much potential farmland was too wet to cultivate. Expanding settlements were boxed in by flood-prone and marshy areas. The solution was to dig ditches and move water off the landscape as quickly as possible, undoing the beavers’ work of damming streams and creating ponds.

(Click here to read the entire article.)

Journeys by Canoe

by Ole Hendrickson

Fall has always been a special time of year in the Ottawa Valley. Kirby Whiteduck of the Algonquins of Pikawakanagan in his book Algonquin Traditional Culture, and Stephen McGregor of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in his book Since Time Immemorial: Our Story, describe life 500 years ago in the valley of the Kichi Sibi, the Great River, now known as the Ottawa.

For the original Algonquin inhabitants of the Valley, fall was when family groups said farewell to their friends and relatives with whom they had gathered on the main stem of the Kichi Sibi. They filled their birch bark canoes with hunting and fishing tools they had made during the summer, and with food provisions such as corn and dried fish, and headed upstream along the many tributaries of the watershed to their traditional hunting grounds.

(click here to read entire article)

CO2 Crisis – More than Climate Change

by Ole Hendrickson

From a pre-industrial-revolution level of 280 parts per million in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide (CO2) has now risen to 400 parts per million. CO2, as the main greenhouse gas emitted by burning fossil fuels, traps infrared radiation, warms the planet, and melts glaciers and ice sheets. People around the world are struggling to cope with rising seas, floods, heat waves, droughts, massive cyclones, tornadoes, etc.

Weather-related disasters associated with rising CO2 tend to dominate media attention, but direct impacts of CO2 on living systems – including photosynthetic organisms such as higher plants and algae, and marine animals with carbonate shells and skeletons – are equally worrisome.

(click here to read entire article)

Plight of the Bumblebee

by Ole Hendrickson

The phrase “plight of the bumblebee” yields thousands of hits on the web. For example, a 2009 Earth Island Journal article (www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/plight_of_the_bumblebee) describes how the greenhouse tomato industry contributed to bumblebee declines. A Belgium-based company, Biobest, pioneered commercial production of bumblebees for pollination of greenhouse vegetables in the late 1980s. It imported North American bumblebees, reared them in Europe, and exported them to the U.S. Some bees apparently became infected with a virulent European strain of the fungal pathogen Nosema bombi. After the bees were shipped back to the U.S. the fungus quickly spread to wild bumblebees.

(Click here to read entire article)

Marking the Start of the Anthropocene

by Ole Hendrickson

Is human impact on Earth sufficient to leave a permanent mark on the geological record? Should geologists formally recognize a new human-dominated geological epoch? If so, when did it begin?

Several articles in the March 12th issue of Nature examine these questions. Nearly all scientists agree that humans have indeed had impacts that will be detectable in the geological record millions of years into the future: use of fire, extinction of large mammals such as the woolly mammoth, clearing of land for farming, metal mining (for copper, lead mercury, etc.), coal burning and greenhouse gas increases beginning in the Industrial Revolution, deposition of long-lived plastics in the ocean, etc. (click here to continue reading the entire article)

Where Does the Water Go?

By Ole Hendrickson

Did you ever follow a stream to its source? Maybe you have walked uphill through a forest, or pasture, and reached a point where there is no longer a defined channel. Sometimes a stream plays hide and seek, alternately running along the surface and going underground.

Some streams begin at a clearly defined point, such as a spring bubbling up from the base of an enormous old tree. Other streams come and go with the seasons, running strong during spring snowmelt, and disappearing or forming a series of shallow pools by the end of the summer.

(To continue reading the entire article, click here)

Can Permaculture Save the World?

by Ole Hendrickson

A futuristic article by Kim Stanley Robinson, “How Science Saved the World,” can be found in the February 2000 issue of the prestigious journal Nature (Vol. 403, p. 23). Looking 1000 years into the future, Robinson reviews two books written around 3000 AD: Science in the Third Millennium by Professor J. S. Khaldun; and Scientific Careers 2001-3000, written by a computer named "Ferdnand".

Professor Khaldun propounds an ambitious theory of history as a clash between feudalism, capitalism (with its lingering feudal elements), and permaculture. He gives particular attention to the dangerous “overshoot” period of global warming and extinction, during which humanity’s reproductive success and primitive technology severely damaged Earth’s carrying capacity.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here)

Toledo – the Tip of the Iceberg

By Ole Hendrickson

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins lifted the city’s drinking water ban at a Monday August 4 news conference after three days of chaos. The National Guard had been called in to provide clean water so residents could avoid potential health effects - including skin rashes, vomiting and diarrhea - of drinking Lake Erie water contaminated with blue-green algal toxins. While some toxins remain, the Mayor has declared the city’s water supply “safe” for human use. Scientists point to excessive phosphorus as the culprit in this incident. History bears them out.

During the 1960s, laundry detergents averaged roughly 10% phosphorus by weight. Lake Erie suffered massive algae blooms each summer. Whitefish, pike and walleye virtually disappeared. Research at Canada’s famed Experimental Lakes Area – now abandoned by the federal government - clearly documented the role of phosphorus. The Canada Water Act was amended in 1970 to require detergent manufacturers to reduce phosphate in detergents to 2.2% by 1971. This was a key victory of the early days of the environmental movement.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here)

Shoreline buffers improve water quality

By Ole Hendrickson

Research aimed at maintaining water quality and a healthy agriculture sector may help inform future actions related to pollution issues in Muskrat Lake and the Muskrat River watershed.

One location with interesting lessons is Tifton, Georgia, a rural farming community in the southern U. S. In the 1960s, staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory in Tifton installed a small dam with an automated water sampler on the Little River, part of the Suwanee River watershed, and began analyzing nitrogen and phosphorus on an ongoing basis.

They found that the Little River catchment had excellent water quality even though 80% of its area was devoted to intensive agriculture: corn, soybeans, peanuts, livestock, etc.

(Click here to continue reading this entire article)

Listening to Nature

by Ole Hendrickson

The coming of spring brings sounds of water in motion – dripping of melting snow from rooftops, rivulets running down the street and pouring into a storm drain, or the roar of a river in full flood. Spring is a time of winds and storms, each with its own acoustic signature.

Noticing the sounds in your environment, and accepting them, is an ancient meditation practice. Hearing allows us to track what is happening in our environment. Sound provides information about objects at a range of distances and in all directions: a three-dimensional sense of the world unhindered by darkness or by the presence of other objects that block our line of sight.

(Click here to continue reading this entire article)

Cold winter on a warming planet

by Lynn Jones

It's early morning; the floor feels icy under my feet. As the fire starts to crackle in the woodstove, the smoke already puffing out of my neighbour's chimney has the tell-tale look of chimney smoke on a very cold morning. Outside the kitchen window, the chickadees, puffed against the cold, are already feeding on black sunflower seeds and suet. Hoar frost sparkles on the cedar trees as the first rays of sunlight touch their high branches. Although it is early March here in the Ottawa Valley, the temperature has dipped well below -20 overnight, yet again, in this long, cold winter of 2014.

Throughout much of Central and Eastern North America it has been a record-breaking winter. Extreme cold caused school bus cancellations and school closures in many locations. Record snow falls and record low temperatures have been experienced in many eastern and central states in the U.S. On January 7th, every state in the lower 48 had a location that was below freezing (United States National Weather Service).

(Click here to continue reading this entire article.)

Trails in the County of Renfrew

By Kathryn Lindsay, Bonnechere River Watershed Project, and Ole Hendrickson, Ottawa River Institute

Paddling, hiking and biking trails can generate new tourism revenues and foster economic development, improve physical and mental well-being, increase mobility for local residents, and foster connectedness among neighbouring communities. Health benefits of trails are particularly important for Renfrew County residents, who tend to have poorer health status than the provincial average.

Ontario government officials recently launched an effort to enhance these benefits by updating and refining the provincial trails strategy. Representatives of a number of Renfrew County groups with interests in tourism, hiking, cycling, paddling, winter sports, and health provided input to this process at a meeting in Ottawa last November. Participants at the Ottawa meeting strongly agreed that the updated provincial trails strategy should highlight active transportation as one of the benefits of trail development. Congratulations to our county councillors for voting unanimously this January to develop an active transportation policy and to include funding for active transportation projects in the County budget.

(Click here to continue reading this entire article.)

Renfrew County – A treasure trove of natural areas

By Ole Hendrickson

Abundant wildlife and highly diverse natural ecosystems occur throughout the Ottawa Valley. Rural roads provide access to beautiful rivers, lakes, forests and farmlands. The rolling terrain offers a new view over each hilltop. Back country explorers can travel freely through crown lands, which make up nearly half the surface area of Renfrew County.

Even larger towns and cities such as Arnprior, Pembroke, Petawawa and Renfrew include areas with special ecological features that are sought out by naturalists trying to add unusual wildlife species to their lists.

More than 80 areas within Renfrew County are specially designated as provincial parks (including waterway parks), conservation reserves, areas of natural and scientific importance, and provincially significant wetlands. The unique geological and biological features of these special natural areas in the Ottawa Valley make them well worth exploring.

(Click here to continue reading this entire article)

When Continents Collide

by Ole Hendrickson

Slow-motion video footage of the Ottawa Valley’s past would have captured the formation and disappearance of great mountain ranges and ice sheets, accompanied by massive earthquakes and floods, interspersed with long periods of warm, shallow seas.

We have no videos, but thanks to the efforts and research of many scientists we have a pretty clear picture of the Valley’s geological history.

Marine bacteria ruled the Earth in the Precambrian over a billion years ago. Precursors of the continents of Africa, Europe, and South America converged on an older and smaller version of North America, creating a supercontinent called Rodinia. Continental plates crashed together and buckled upwards, forming the mighty Grenville Mountains, higher than the Himalayas. Molten rock surged from deep within the earth to fill the spaces beneath the up-thrust plates. Near the epicentre of this great collision a great upsurge of magma slowly cooled into the granite dome of the Algonquin batholith, occupying much of the current area of Algonquin Park and adjacent Renfrew County.

(Click here to continue reading this entire article)

Looking upstream for solutions to Muskrat Lake’s algae problem

by Ole Hendrickson

It is no secret that each summer, ugly, smelly, and potentially harmful algal blooms cover significant portions of Muskrat Lake near Cobden. A February 2012 article by Lucy Hass in the Renfrew Mercury quotes MNR Pembroke District issues and information officer Doug Skeggs as saying “It is, without a doubt, the biggest environmental challenge that we face in Renfrew County today.”

On March 19, 2012 Whitewater Region council members met with provincial officials (natural resources, agriculture, environment), county health officials, and consultants to discuss this challenge. The meeting report says that 40 years of testing by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) has pinpointed the cause of the problem: elevated levels of the plant nutrient element phosphorus.

(Click here to continue reading the entire article.)

Prehistoric spring in the Ottawa Valley

by Ole Hendrickson

We’re having an old-fashioned Ottawa Valley spring. Ice still covers the lakes, even though the fishing huts are long gone. Snow in the highlands, especially on north-facing slopes, is feeding the creeks and rivers and keeping them flowing strong.

That being said, spring isn’t what it used to be. Imagine the Ottawa Valley eleven thousand years ago.

Waves lap against towering walls of glacial ice along the Champlain Sea. Melting ice forms rivers that carve the ice and discharge water and sediments. The booming sound of a huge chunk of glacier falling in the water punctuates the silence. This part of the Atlantic is narrow and shallow, generally a tranquil place, protected from wind and wave action. Curious whales venture in, dodging the drifting icebergs.

(Click here to continue reading the entire article)

To bee or not to bee

by Ole Hendrickson

Modern industrial agriculture is caught on the horns of a dilemma. It tries to reduce costs and maximize the food grown in a given area by eliminating all species other than the desired crop plant. But this decreases populations of earthworms and other soil animals that break down crop residues and maintain soil fertility, and of beneficial insects that limit pest outbreaks.

If these species disappear, the ecosystem services they provide must be replaced. This requires fertilizers and insecticides. These are produced and applied using increasingly expensive fossil fuels. The cost of food goes up with the price of a barrel of oil.

Crop pollination is another ecosystem service that is being put at risk by industrial agriculture and linked to the price of oil.

Modern beekeepers and their honeybees travel around the continent. A West Coast beekeeper might truck hives to California for almond pollination in February, to Washington for apple pollination in March, and North Dakota for honey production in July. An East Coast beekeeper might travel between Florida vegetable fields in winter and Maine blueberry fields in summer.

(Click here to continue reading this entire article)

The Fourth “R”

by Ole Hendrickson

It seems that repair has become a lost art. Do people darn socks anymore, repair shoes, mend holes in clothes, fix broken toys or sports equipment, or do they just toss them and buy new ones? When the transmission goes in your car, do you fix it or junk it?

Economists trivialize repair and maintenance, denigrating them as low-wage service sector activities, less economically important than resource extraction and manufacturing.

Environmentalists aren't much better. They ignore repair, speaking only of “Three R’s” (reduce, reuse, recycle) in the limited context of household waste such as containers, cardboard and kitchen scraps. This perpetuates the myth that reducing waste means a poorer lifestyle - buying less, getting your clothes from the second-hand store, and spending your time flattening tin cans.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here)

Silent Spring Revisited

by Ole Hendrickson

Imagine a world in which the most widely used agricultural pesticides indiscriminately killed nearly all insects, including butterflies, beetles and moths.

Suppose that these pesticides were highly soluble in water and readily migrated into soil, where they killed decomposer organisms that maintain soil fertility, such as springtails and earthworms.

Further suppose that these pesticides persisted in the environment and contaminated streams and lakes, killing larvae of mayflies, stoneflies, dragonflies and other key components of the aquatic food chain.

And further suppose that populations of birds, bats, salamanders, frogs, fish, and other animals that feed on insects were crashing in catastrophic fashion.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here)

Vanishing Canadian waterways

by Ole Hendrickson

Many people are asking what is behind the Harper government's replacement of the Navigable Waters Protection Act by the Navigation Protection Act in the recent “omnibus” budget bill, and how it will affect our use of lakes and rivers in Canada.

Parliament passed the Act in 1882 at the end of Sir John A. MacDonald’s third term as prime minister. For 130 years the federal government used the Act to regulate construction of bridges, dams or other structures that might interfere with movement of watercraft.

Neither the original Act nor subsequent amended versions precisely defined a “navigable waterway”. However, in 1906, the Supreme Court of Canada held that that any water that was navigable and could float a canoe – or a log - was within the Act’s scope. This gave federal protection to the Ottawa Valley log drives that were so important to Canada’s early commercial development and international trade.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here.)

Nature on the Move

by Ole Hendrickson

Naturalists are always on the lookout for rare species of plants and animals. Last year they hit the jackpot when a Giant Swallowtail butterfly was seen for the first time ever in Renfrew County on May 26th at the Ottawa Valley Native Plant Botanical Garden at the Connaught Nursery and Gardens in Micksburg.

The siting took place during a tour of the botanical garden that was part of the 10th Annual Renfrew County Natural History Day. First to notice the Giant Swallowtail was expert butterfly spotter Ethan Anderman of Killaloe. Daryl Coulson of the Ministry of Natural Resources in Pembroke got a photograph confirming its identity.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here.)

Mother Earth on Meds

by Ole Hendrickson

Mother Earth, as a healthy living entity, regulates her temperature, gas composition, pH, salt content, and other properties - much like an individual animal. When she gets sick, humans may be tempted to intervene using physical or chemical remedies. Does Mother Earth need her meds?

There are signs that Mother Earth is sick. Her temperature is rising and her oceans are becoming more acidic. She is losing 200 species per day, ten times the natural background rate of extinction, according to a video published recently by Scientific American ("Are we facing the sixth mass extinction", October 2012 ).

"Geo-engineering" is the term for global-scale efforts to deal with Mother Earth's symptoms of illness. Proposed geo-engineering techniques include fertilizing the oceans to trigger the growth of algae which in turn absorb carbon-dioxide; injecting sulfate particles into the atmosphere to block the sun's rays and mimic the cooling effects seen after large-scale volcanic eruptions; and new technologies to suck carbon dioxide directly from the air.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here.)

Reconnecting with Nature - the great work of the 21st century

By Ole Hendrickson

On a cool, showery Saturday afternoon, Richard Louv, author of the best-selling "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," gave an outdoor talk at the launch of the latest phase of Petawawa's "Emerald Necklace Trail System.

"Petawawa Mayor and Renfrew County Warden Bob Sweet introduced Mr. Louv, who is in high demand as a speaker. Louv commended Mayor Sweet for his leadership in providing access to green space in a place already rich in nature.

Louv began his talk by presenting highlights from many studies that show how contact with nature improves children's physical and mental health. For example, children with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are better able to concentrate after contact with nature. In fact this increase in ability to concentrate after time in nature is pretty universal, affecting people of all ages. Other benefits to kids of contact with nature are improved self-discipline, motor coordination, balance, agility and immune function. Language skills, reasoning, awareness and positive social interactions are also increased.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here.)

The Great Outdoors By Ole Hendrickson

Did your mother ever tell you to go out and get some fresh air and exercise? Did she shoo you outside when she needed to clean the house, or have some peace and quiet?

Child development experts are concerned that too many over-protective parents are keeping their kids indoors. Lack of outdoor experience causes attention problems in the classroom, depression, and anti-social behavior. It also contributes to the alarming increase in childhood obesity.

In his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv introduced the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” and sparked considerable change.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here.)

Muzzling the Green Message by Ole Hendrickson

Why did the mainstream media exclude the Green Party from the April 12th English language leaders' debate, and the April 14th French debate?

Could it be they don't want the environment to be an election issue?

What is "the environment", anyway? It's life. It's our communities. It's everything we eat and all that goes on around us. It's our health and our children's health. It's the basis for our long-term economic prosperity.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here)

Smart Economics by Ole Hendrickson

Much of a country's wealth lies in its natural resources. Nature provides water, minerals, energy, animals, plants used for food or timber, and so forth. Countries rich in natural resources like Canada have an advantage over poorer nations.

We don't know how lucky we are.

GDP, the most widely used economic indicator, is the market value of all final goods and services made each year within the borders of a country. Economists who focus only on GDP do not account for changes in the natural wealth that makes it possible to produce these goods and services.

If we don't have enough food, energy, water, or minerals, why, we can get them somewhere else, right? There's some truth in this. Japan, with little energy or mineral wealth, remains a prosperous industrial nation.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here)

More Biodiversity Means more Health, Economic and Social Benefits by Ole Hendrickson

Life is resilient. Left alone by humans, species - whether plants, animals, or microbes - pursue their innate tendency to grow and produce offspring.

This poses a question for humans as stewards of Nature: How much life, and how much variety of life, do we want in our immediate surroundings?

The short answer is "More".

More biodiversity provides more ecosystem services. This improves our lives and reduces social costs. Conversely, biodiversity loss impoverishes us all.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here)

E.O. Wilson – Father of Modern Biodiversity Science By Ole Hendrickson

Professor E. O. Wilson of Harvard University is a world-renowned biologist, author, and the father of modern biodiversity science. At the age of 82 Wilson remains an active and provocative thinker, writing about biodiversity and about how human interaction with nature shapes personal and social development.

I recently “sat in on” a lecture that Wilson delivered from his office at Harvard through a video conference link to a packed house in the auditorium of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. The talk was simultaneously video-linked to Nagoya, Japan where delegates from countries around the world were attending the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

(To continue reading this entire article, click here)

2010 - International Year of Biodiversity by Ole Hendrickson

The diversity of life on planet Earth and its critical importance to human well-being has been in the spotlight for much of this year.

On October 4th, scientists completed an ambitious 10-year Census of Marine Life, exploring little-known areas such as portions of the oceans 5000 meters deep. They found life everywhere they looked, discovering over 6000 new and sometimes bizarre species capable of living "even where heat would melt lead, seawater froze to ice, and light and oxygen were lacking." Using DNA sequencing techniques, scientists concluded that there could be up to 100 times more kinds of marine microbes than previously thought. Bacteria may comprise as much as 90% of the mass of living marine creatures. To quote from the Census' highlights report, "the continually rising number of known kinds of life reinforces the conclusion that the Age of Discovery has not ended."

(To continue reading this entire article, click here)