Now, nearing the end of our three-week cruise of the North Pacific off Hawaii, we are working to understand how these tiny bacteria connect and communicate with one another.
The sea is a deep blue, so clear that you might think it was devoid of life. We have seen only a few seabirds circling the ship and playing in the air currents we generate. We haven’t seen any whales or sharks, only an occasional flying fish taking to the air in front of our bow wake. In this apparent desert, microbial life is king.
Yesterday, we set sail at 8am, rounded the Island of O’ahu, and headed north into the blue waters of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.
Scientists like myself are in a race against time to understand the fundamental drivers of ocean ecosystems before climate change pushes them towards a new unknown state.