Water: the Medium of Life

When we explore other planets and wonder if life could have existed there, it is not carbon or silicon or even amino acids we look for at first. We look for water.

Without it, so far as we know, life is not possible. This is not to say that biotic entities cannot survive in dormancy for long periods–hundreds of years or longer–in a dehydrated state. Tardigrades are champs at this.

But for the most part, access to water is the limiting factor for land creatures and all aquatic–salt or fresh–plants and animals.

Closer to home, it turns out that forests are pretty good at finding available water, even from fissures underground. And given Floyd County’s fractured rock, the fact that this can be a source of survival water during times of drought gives a bit of comfort. [click image for source article/ Berkeley News. ]

I will be meeting with some spring-breaking students from U of Del next week at Apple Ridge here in FloydCo to have a discussion about water in the Blue Ridge, and this is one of the things we will talk about.

And given my current need to stay focused and not get too sidetracked, if and when I blog, it will generally be from stuff I already have on hand related to what I am working on at the time. So fire me.

 

Author: fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

One thought on “Water: the Medium of Life”

  1. I read the article. Very interesting. Douglas firs are increasing in northern California and they may be why stream flow is decreasing in the summer. They are harvesting the rock water that otherwise would go into streams.

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