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  1. Microbe Hunter

From the recording Songs From the Science Frontier

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This song was inspired by the work of Dr. Mostafa Elshahed, a microbiologist at Oklahoma State University. He discovered that whole new types of bacteria were growing at Zodletone Spring in Southwestern Oklahoma. The other locations in the song really are places where exotic microbial life can be found, but as far as I know, no one person has explored them all.

Lyrics

Once he took a submarine to an undersea ravine to explore a hydrothermal vent
Life had never yet been found in the place he poked around near the superheated effluent
Yet there were some critters there gladly munching on the fare in their sulphurous cafeteria
He took em home to his retreat, but they died without their heat; they were thermophilic bacteria

He's a mi - crobe hunter
Exploring the great unknown
He's a mi - crobe hunter
Adding brand new branches to the tree of life mighty different from our own

He was good and lost on the Russian permafrost where there ain't no trees nor herbivores
With a tubular device he dug down into the ice and he pulled up ancient sample cores
In the unforgiving cold frozen life had taken hold; the oldest bugs in Siberia
He tried to take em back, but they melted in his pack; they were cryophilic bacteria

He's a mi - crobe hunter
Exploring the great unknown
He's a mi - crobe hunter
Adding brand new branches to the tree of life mighty different from our own

Well he went for a fling to the Zodeltone Spring on an Oklahoma mountainside
It was such a crazy brew that the critters that it grew were incredibly distinct and rarefied
We can be assured the excitement they stirred was more than mere hysteeria
For the NSF sent him one enormous check to isolate the new bacteria

He's a mi - crobe hunter
Exploring the great unknown
He's a mi - crobe hunter
Adding brand new branches to the tree of life mighty different from our own

From their RNA he can tell you right away if the critters he's caught are novelties
If they've never been seen he will sequence every gene, finding clues to what puts them at their ease
In a culture dish he’ll try and grant their every wish, meeting metabolic criteria
And if the buggers up and die, he'll take another try until he grows the new bacteria

Cause he's a mi - crobe hunter
Exploring the great unknown
He's a mi - crobe hunter
Adding brand new branches to the tree of life mighty different from our own
Adding brand new branches to the tree of life mighty different from our own