What if all the bacteria and archaea on Earth decided to go on strike and stop their metabolism all at once? Which of the global cycles of matter would be affected first? How long would it take for life as we know it to come to a stop?
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Both of the scenarios proposed by David Lipson make perfect sense, but they only focus on bacteria external to plants and animals (as prompted in the question). However, you could also ask what would be the impact from the demise of the normal microbial biota. Would there be a rapid effect on plant and animal life or a slow effect?
Posted by: Stanley Maloy | December 22, 2006 at 08:32 AM