The world is bustling with viruses and microbes. Millions upon millions of them in even the smallest drop of seawater. They are all moving, living, infecting, dying. They are the greatest source of activity, function, diversity, and opportunity on the planet. With such huge numbers of viruses and microbes trying new things all the time, ‘anything’ goes from being possible to being probable.
Most viruses can choose to either kill their hosts or not when they infect them; lytic and temperate infection, respectively. This seemingly simple and small decision can lead to mighty and radically different movement of energy, matter, and genes through ecosystems from molecular to planetary scales.
The Hopeful Monsters Lab seeks to use viral lytic vs temperate infection decisions to ameliorate some of the most pressing environmental and social concerns.
From the degradation of coral reefs by microbial overgrowth to coastal harmful algal blooms, from the looming prospect of phosphorus scarcity to the climate effects of how carbon moves through and may be sequestered by open ocean algal blooms, we are going to use viruses to solve problems. Hopeful Monsters, indeed!