zoology biology benno meyer rochow science blog water life pollution environment Florian Nock

Environment and pollution : Water is Life

Water is more valuable than gold

In many parts of the world people are proud of their rivers, streams, and creeks. They speak of them with veneration, they have composed songs about them (e.g., A. Dvorak’ “The Moldau”), written stories about them (e.g., Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi”) and expressed in poetic verse how water hurtles down deep gorges, caresses the fingers of the weary hiker, and bathes the pebbles in soft murmur. But the reality in many countries is more than often far less romantic. That polluted waterways can, indeed, be “turned around” I have seen in Europe and Japan. When I first visited Japan in the 60s, some rivers I saw were filthy, disgustingly black and used as dumps for all kinds of garbage. And now? Not a trace of foreign objects; totally cleared up. Elsewhere in the world, however, it’s still bad.

zoology biology benno meyer rochow science blog moving in water Florian Nock

Moving in water : Screwing up (and down of course)

And spiralling around as well

A look at the diminutive, fantastically diverse life forms and their activity in a single drop of water can be a truly amazing experience – provided of course you have not chosen tap or rainwater. A drop of water from the edge of a weedy pond (or a puddle near a penguin rookery, which was my source for a study) examined under a simple light microscope does, however, reveal a microcosm of hidden life. In amongst the jittering soup of miniature plants and animals, it is the group of ciliated protozoans that are the greatest attention getters. The smallest may not even reach 50 microns, while Paramaecium and Euplotes maximally attain 1 mm and the biggest like Spirostomum may reach a length of 3-4 mm.