Humans hate to catch the flu,
But here’s a fact that’s less well-known:
Bacteria get infections too
As many cultures have now shown.
In the ocean, P. ubique
(growing, growing everywhere)
Is plagued by viruses that seek
To hijack ubique’s gene hardware.
The key to beating strong predation:
Nutrients and conjugation!
Abundant SAR11 viruses in the ocean, Zhao et al., Nature (2013)
This is one in a series of poems based on science news, written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. First posted 2/15/13 on Allen’s website.