What if the entire desert is actually the "surface" of an inland sea, capped by a gelatinous "top" comprised of billions of small amoeba-like organisms that filtered the water underneath and, over time, the deposited salt, sand and other particulates formed a layer on top of them that appears to be your standard desert.
Dig into the dunes and you'll find clusters of silver, gold, salt. Dig deep enough and you'll hit the spongy, smooth and slightly sticky gel. One can harvest this gel as it makes an incredible water filtration system, or simply wring the water out of the block of material you've just harvested. If you drill deep enough into this gel, you can pump out the pure water being covered by the gel.
That is the base food source, the water-rich gelatin that nourishes both huge and tiny alike, as well as the occasional oasis "naturally" created by tube-like organisms that intentionally pump the liquid up to the surface, encouraging predator and prey to congregate at it's waters and feast on the toxin-laced fruit and waters, whereupon they fall in and gradually digest.
In the desert live a species of tiny winged ants. These ants are gold in color, and at a casual glance they are indistinguishable from grains of sand.
To escape the sweltering heat of the desert, these ants live in colonies that penetrate deep underground. Most large colonies are situated above a subterranean water source, and because of this they have become a symbol of good luck and prosperity. If you ever follow a trail of ant back to their colony, you'll have likely discovered a good location for a water well. Water is such a prized and valuable resource in the desert that the location of ant colonies can be sold to water barons for large sums of gold.
Some ant colonies can number in the hundreds of billions. Swarms from these massive colonies can be mistaken for sand storms from afar. These ant swarms can by miles wide and last for days on end. Becoming lost within an ant storm has been the death of many wandering nomads and unprepared adventurers.
While the ants are normally harmless, local legend wars that they can be manipulated by dark magic. It is rumored that witches and vengeful spirits can command vast armies of carnivorous ants that will eat the flesh of anything foolish enough to be caught in their path.
They use the electricity that happens from the moving sand grains on top, and the water below them as a ground. A colony about as thick as your fingertip to your elbow would be a very old colony indeed.
>>43443372 Brine shrimp and flies. They survive on water that seeps up from a deep water tablet, but it seeps up through salt and nitrogen. The water itself is too salty and acidic for most living things, save for the brine flies and shrimp, who survive by eating the algae that grow on rocks under the water.
>>43446094 Nature is yet to find a way of directly absorbing thermal energy into metabolism. In fact, if there was one - life would have no need of these dumb things like planets to form. Space vacuum would be abundant with life forms.
>>43446062 Said nutrients need to get into water from SOMEWHERE for that. In the ocean, said filtered nutrients that most Crustacea live off are microscopic algae and whatever microorganisms that eat the algae, so - photosynthesis as the cornerstone. Ain't no such thing here. They COULD be living of lakes of ancient fossil organic mass (literally petrol), but as all those environmentalists remind us 15 times a day - FOSSIL FUELS ARE A FINITE RESOURCE! Such an ecosystem (fucking millions of tons of amoebae) would digest however enormous lake of petrol in a matter of a few years.
>>43446103 >>43446131 >>43446173 >Why couldn't there be minerals in the water that can be used as nutrients If we're talking chemosynthesis here - cannot work unless there are thermal vents on the bottom of the desert-ocean in question. Chemosynthesis don't survive off heat. As this guys' >>43446193 picture correctly shows, chemosynthesis is based on oxidation of sulfur and ferrum. The only source of non-oxidized sulfur and ferrum (so that the bacteria can oxidize it themselves and get energy in process) is below the Earth crust, where there's no oxygen that would swiftly oxidize the shit out of anything without any organic middle man. Now, if we just dissolve a bunch of molecular sulfur and iron in the water, it would turn into oxides very fast. Well unless there's no oxygen in that water, but that would make any life larger than a bacteria impossible. Luckily. thermal vents provide the surface with a ton of hydrogen sulfide and other shit ripe for organic oxygenation, allowing for existence of chemosynthetic organisms.
What if the amoebic sea is dormant for that exact reason, perhaps even dead? Algal blooms can fuck over an ecosystem while being a potentially "natural" occurrence, and in the case of an inland sea rapidly becoming desert, the presence of these amoebas could be the thing that tipped the natural scales.
Or the amoebic sea has a means of reaching the surface, perhaps as the sand rose tendrils that "spat out" the sand (much like bivalves or a type of endoplasmic reticulum) rose with it, and as the amoebic sea suffered from the decrease in photosynthesis, mutant strains of the amoeba that allowed photosynthesis in these filter stalks thrived.
This is of course ignoring the potential for symbiotic relationships between plants and the amoebic sea, where one receives water and the other receives nutrients.
>>43446520 Sometimes I just wish that popular science could just crawl away and die in some hole. Uneducated people at least tend to understand their state of ignorance. They can learn sometime later. This bullshit however pollutes the world with people equally as ignorant, but without any chance of educating themselves as they believe that "SCIENCE BYATCH"-sensationalist media already provided them with the sacred knowledge of How The World Works. This is cancer.
Back on topic - no. Geobacter do not live of magically snatching electrons from direct electrical current. That's not how it works. That's not how any of it works. Not to mention that static electricity cannot produce a current. It's in the name - STATIC. Only singular high-voltage discharges for you.
>>43447156 >What if the amoebic sea is dormant for that exact reason, perhaps even dead Now, that makes sense. A desert atop of a giant mass of dead amoebae that ran out of substrate. If their gelatinous state is provided by some semi-fantastic protein that prevents water from evaporating from the gel, while sand blanket prevents oxygen diffusion so there's nothing that could degrade the organic mass, it could work like some nigh-impenetrable fossil, that can be a source of both water and nutrients but is VERY hard to access by biological means. Like say, only a few species of fungi that use rare symbiotic bacteria are capable of sloooooowly using this Deep Gel to sustain themselves, creating tiny oasis around quicksands of surface-reaching Gel, maintaining a tight ecosystem of fungal groves and whatever survivalist organisms that eat them. Groves are very slow to spread, as they depend on presence of rare bacteria, so they can't overwhelm the supply of gel.
And meanwhile, humans can carefully use mechanical means to obtain small amounts of clear water from the gel, sustaining themselves and basic animal husbandry.
>>43447804 Bonus points: Not!Bedouins living in said desert worship the Gel as decaying pieces of the body of a long dead god, which explains their isolationist practices and unwillingness to provide any dirty kafirs with the precious substance.
Extra bonus points: They are right. The dead gel mass was super-intelligent when it was alive, and the desert is still suffering from psyonic aftereffects, like nightmares, hallucinations and prophetic revelations.
>>43447003 >Nature is yet to find a way of directly absorbing thermal energy into metabolism. In fact, if there was one - life would have no need of these dumb things like planets to form. Space vacuum would be abundant with life forms.
Dude you are fuckoff wrong. Space is a great insulatorbbecause there us nothing to transmit the heat
>>43447652 Okay, so you don't know how electricity works, and just went by the word. Yes, two parts, Static, mean lacking in motion, and electricity. Static electricity is just like any other electricity; an electron imbalance happens and it wants to correct itself. Do you know why it's static? Because it has nowhere to go. If given a chance it goes to earth because it has a higher electrical potential than most anything else. Regular water accepts electrons pretty readily too. Now I said regular water, not pure water or de-ionized, just so you don't bitch about that as well. Now, I never said static electricity, I said electricity produced by the rubbing sand. This happens in real life, sandstorms have been known to produce massive lightning storms. The sand has a way to discharge the slight difference due to the electron breathing bacteria, and they have a way to discharge that into the water. I suppose now you'll complain about the lack of anything to build their bodies. Well, that can come from any carbon based molecules that happens to be in the water. The water will probably not be pure, and carbon is everywhere. Also, never said Geobacters; it could be anything that uses a similar method to absorb energy. Stop being a wet blanket.
>>43448166 >Now, I never said static electricity, I said electricity produced by the rubbing sand. This happens in real life, sandstorms have been known to produce massive lightning storms. Exactly. Lighting IS a singular discharge after a buildup of static. It's not a direct current. You are speaking of lifeforms LITERALLY EATING LIGHTNINGS.
>the electron breathing bacteria That's not how it works. >Also, never said Geobacters The article linked was about them. > it could be anything that uses a similar method to absorb energy >That's not how it works.
>>43447652 >Sometimes I just wish that popular science could just crawl away and die in some hole. Uneducated people at least tend to understand their state of ignorance. They can learn sometime later. This bullshit however pollutes the world with people equally as ignorant, but without any chance of educating themselves as they believe that "SCIENCE BYATCH"-sensationalist media already provided them with the sacred knowledge of How The World Works. This is cancer.
GET AWAY FROM MY SCIENCE NORMIES REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
>>43448516 Lightning also only happens when there's a mile or 2 of insulation, like air, and it needs to do such a massive discharge. The situation described is an area of slight negative charge (sand) to an area of slight positive charge (water) and a way to travel between areas (electrical bacteria). That is exactly how that works. Just saying that's not how it works doesn't prove anything or provide anything, other than you being a wet blanket.
The foundation of the ecosystem of the desert is a species of extremely hardy "fungi" (for a lack of a better term) that forms wast networks of hair thin tendrils all across the desert, storing massive amounts of water within clusters of fungal tendrils that exist deep underneath the sand. The water originates both from deep water reservoirs underneath the sand, as well as from the moisture that collects on the sand during mornings, which the tendrils of the fungi quickly absorb, before the moisture evaporates. The fungus exists in a symbiosis with various bacteria, that can turn all sorts of biological, and carbon based detritus found in the desert sand into usable organic compounds for the fungus, while in turn, the fungus supplies the bacteria with water. The fungus uses the heat of the surface of the sand, as well as oxygen it that gets within the upper layers of the desert's surface to produce a sugar like compound from the organic materials the bacteria symbiotes produce.
Because of this fungus that is common all across the desert, the desert itself is inhabited by large amounts of creatures, that either feed directly upon the fungus, or otherwise benefit from the life giving properties it has on the desert.
Everything underneath the sea is dead... except for the ancient civilization of merman who engineered the amoebae layer in order to terraform their landless planet. They took a big hit to the population they can sustain by doing this, and their empire is a husk of what it previously was.
Why are they terraforming the planet to create land though?
I think I've got a handle on this ecosystem, but I need help with how oases are made.
I was thinking of giant Wurms that mostly skim the algae layer, thus being almost constantly coated in algae while leaving a trail of the stuff in their wake. For [insert reason here], they make brief, near vertical trips to the surface, spreading algae in their wake.
The exit hole surges forth with water pumped up by the algae, and the sunlight is reflected further down to maintain the algae layer. The water attracts desert plants to stabilize the oasis.
By the time the wurm reenters the sand, most of the algae has fallen off, and the reentry hole lacks enough support to maintain itself before it is covered by the sands.
Small burrowing crustaceans that live in large groups spread across the desert sands. They feed upon the small amounts of organic particulates and plant matter that lies within the upper layers of the sands, along with any carrion they can happen upon. Usually more active in the cool desert nights, searching for food or collecting dew on their feathery antennae, it is not uncommon to see large colonies move just under the surface during the day. While most colonies contain only several hundred, individuals ranging in size from 2 or 3 centimeters, there have been instances of super clusters forming during the crab's mating season, where in several thousand individuals may group together. During this time it has been cited that entire dunes can spring to life in a sea of movement if the multitude is disturbed.
A delicacy when boiled or sautéed, though large numbers are required to make a meal.
>>43460138 At least they're trying. While I agree that wrong knowledge is more harmful than no knowledge, at least all the popsci stuff gets people interested in science in the first place, and hopefully some of those people will go on to educate themselves. Either way there's no reason to scream at people for being ignorant when it's hardly their fault for not being given the knowledge or the drive to discover it in the first place.
In regards to the question at hand, static electricity is simply the buildup or removal of electrons on a surface - sand blowing over the surface will take electrons with it like a cloth rubbed over glass. That's all you'd need to set up an electrostatic potential, which the bacteria could (very theoretically) utilise.
>>43460138 Whatever, wet blanket, gonna have fun over here, you continue with your rage and maybe you learn to not be such a killjoy. Look at me! I'm gonna make my magical desert work in ways that can only be kinda explained by science!! WOOOOO!
>>43459719 Wurms burst forth to expel waste. Thus, normally near lifeless sand suddenly has a ton of nutrients. Or maybe it's for spawning. Their eggs and sperm are light enough to ride the winds like plants' or mushrooms'. So their young don't over populate the water system, and the clouds of eggs get eaten by predators providing more base line food.
>>43467497 >Desert fungi Im no expert here but. I think there are no desert mushrooms. Not even in oasis. I believe its due to the extreme heat and arid weather but someone else might have more knowledge on this
>>43471962 With the desert rains, the desert comes to life. Mushrooms bloom across the sands, seeking to spread their spores before the inevitable insect tide that will consume them. The same insect tide that then gets consumed by rain frogs, amphibians that burrow in the sand and only come surface after heavy rain to feed and mate. While the smaller ones aren't much for eating, the older frogs can be as big a a human's head, and have enough protein on them to keep a man fed for an entire day.
In the desert, water is life. All such life is hidden deep beneath the sands. A millenia old layer of amoeba lives its life filtering minerals from the sands above and keeping the water below. Such water is so pure, and has been so thoroughly constricted by the sands and amoeba, that no fish can survive in it. In the land beneath the sands, all that live are amoeba and Wurms.
Wurms on their part live across most of the desert, but spend most of it skimming the amoeba for food and safety, as no predators can come for it there.
However, once in a blue moon a Wurm makes for the surface in a near vertical path, leaving a slime covered trail in its wake. It cleans itself of the various wastes accumulated upon its body before burrowing back into the sands. The sands have thus been seeded with all manner of food for desert creatures, and it is here that the amoeba recoup upon their losses, for the slimy tunnels still teem with life.
Water surges forth from these tunnels. At first only a trickle, but as more amoeba float upwards, so does their pumping strength increase, until a geyser forms at the tunnel mouth. This initial surge of water serves as the foundation of a bountiful oasis, drawing creatures from near and far. The light from the sun and fertilizer from the creatures all goes down and reaches the amoeba from here.
>>43477472 But there are other things that live within the sands. Desert fungi spend most of their lives dormant, but during the ever so rare seasons of rain, they blossom into massive structures, releasing streams of fungal spores. These spores land wherever they can, eating what they can find before going back into hibernation. Unless they land in an oasis. When enough desert fungi lands in the pit of an oasis, they sink down into the amoeba and feed off of them. Slowly, they invade the network and supplant it with their own, until the amoeba cuts itself off from their doomed brethren and stops pumping water.
For awhile, all seems normal, but eventually the waters will become turgid and infected. Fungal poisoning becomes common among the animals, and the former oasis will slowly drain away. What water remains is covered from above by sand and kept afloat from below by the fungal network, creating the conditions necessary for quicksand. Unfortunate prisoners will find themselves dying either from thirst, fungal infection, or bacterial infection from freeloaders who help decompose the bodies faster. As such, travelers are wary of trusting old desert maps, and take great care not to pass by any oases right after a storm.
>>43443551 I like this. As for energy sources and "how no photosynthesis", the energy input into this system would come from the surface fauna:
>Animals live on desert surface >Animal dies, harsh arid climate precludes rot >Corpse desiccates and is covered with sand >Corpse gradually sinks in the sand until it hits the barrier of the massive subterranean jelly-blob >Jelly-blob engulfs desiccated corpse >Adds moisture and begins slow digestion, corpse doesn't rot because desiccation sterilized it
>>43478481 Primary producers don't "eat" anything. That's the point. They take stuff that is the end-product of the metabolism of other beings, toss in a bunch of energy from elsewhere and make it available again. All metabolic processes remove energy from compounds until they're squeezed dry, thermodynamically. Primary producers replenish that. So they can't eat other life, because it would be a steadily diminishing cycle (no conversion process is 100% efficient). There are two known processes that are utilized by primary producers on Earth: Photosynthesis, and chemoautotrophy. Maybe something involving radioactive decay might also be possible, but it's doubtful.
>>43478480 >Thermoautotrophs That's a misleading term because heat is not enough to drive an ecosystem. Energy can only be used for work in a heat gradient and it's pretty damn hard to get a good one in the dimensions of a cell. What extremophiles near deep sea vents use for primary production are the chemicals they release.
>>43447003 >>43445942 niggers it eats shit that falls into the oases it makes how is that not food/energy dumb motherfuckers looking for holes in cool ideas that aren't there also see plan B) a wizard did it it's how slimes work usually
>>43478536 >radioactive decay might also be possible, but it's doubtful. No itsn't. It really exists. There is a fungus living in the very core of Chernobyl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus
>>43480480 Radiation, magic, whateves. Heck, the jelly layer could be what's keeping the magication in check, keeping it from getting to the surface where it could create new creatures. Oasis are where the magication can escape and causes monsterous growth and strange mutations. This is where giant scorpions and sphinx come from. The pools give off an eerie glow during the night, and the plants may or may not have carnivorous tendencies, but their fruits may or may not have healing powers. Or it'll kill you.
>>43480809 Most water tapped by wells lies in the unconfined aquiferous region that is regenerated by rainfall and external inflow. Fossil water, like under the Sahara, has been trapped there for ages with no sources and no drains. You can fuel your agriculture my mining it, but it will run out sooner or later and then you're fucked. It is very much alike to oil.
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