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In their very first episode of "From A to B", Adrian asks Brit about the relationships between oxygen and life on Earth.

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Were you gonna sing Etta James? (sings) At last, my love has-. Welcome back to Nature League.

I am very excited because right now We are about to do the first time our fourth segment for every month, which is called from A to B. Now I am the B, which means we needed an A, and this is my good friend Adrian Adams and. Let's just say he has an interesting relationship with life on Earth in.

That it both fascinates and terrifies him. You have not studied anything about zoology or biology, right? No.

I haven't really done anything. Not unless I get like a wild hair up my butt, like "I want to know How big a platypus egg is." (It's like one and a half inches in diameter, bro.) And that's where this idea came from because Adrian likes to text me completely absurd things about animals that I used to just answer while shaking my head but we said you know what it would actually be more fun if we just recorded this and shared it with all of you and. So the fourth week of every month we are gonna do a segment where Adrian poses me a.

Question and I will do my best to answer it and we can all learn a little bit definitely laugh a lot and maybe make. Fun of Adrian the tiniest bit as we go. What do you think?

Yeah, alright, fine. As you all know if you've been watching this month the theme is life on Earth so we wanted to start really broadly and just say "what does it mean to be alive on this planet?" We did a field trip, kind of talking about where were filming and that was my background. We did a dig into some scientific literature about new forms of life and energy cycles, and we also talked a little bit about the characteristics of life so I would like to know what do you have for me today regarding life on Earth?

Okay, so you've seen Zoolander, right? The commercial where he's like "Water is the essence of beauty". What ... well okay, so if water is, well, not beauty but life, could there be life that doesn't need oxygen to live?

Could we find life on another planet, you know when we look for like Earth's 'like planets' or planets that can house life,. It's like we're looking for an oxygen like an atmosphere kind of like ours, and we're looking for water. Look up, there's got to be some kind of life out there that doesn't need what we need in order to survive right so there could just be like a giant ball of methane out there with some fish swimming around in the methane, right?

Yeah, I think methane is a gas so-. Oh. -swimming around in methane is probably problem number one. Flying fish.

I'm sure we could get methane into other forms but here's the thing I might be about to blow your mind, because there are actually a lot of life forms on earth right now, not prehistoric, but right now, that don't need oxygen at all. In fact, they even will die in its presence. So let's hit a few things first.

You're right that we generally think about oxygen as this big-time power force for life, but that's because it's only one type of kind of energy mover and shaker. So when we think about metabolism, which is like, add up all the building and breaking down of things in a system,. Oxygen plays a major role with that because it's highly reactive.

It- I mean it wreaks havoc, it can be toxic in certain amounts, right? For example like scuba divers Oxygen toxicity is one of the things that you have to watch out for and you do mixtures of gases-. Aqua toxicity?

Oxygen toxicity. Oxygen toxicity. Yes.

So there are creatures that live on earth that we call obligate anaerobes so, two words. We'll break them down. "Obligate" think like an obligation. That means you, something you have to have- -has to have?

Exactly. Okay. "Anaerobe",. So "AN" meaning like without and then aero meaning if you think air-.

Air. -is oxygen. So an anaerobe is an organism that does not use oxygen. For what?

For metabolism. Again, it's all about the role that oxygen plays and the creation of energy molecules. Basically it is really good at oxidation and reduction reactions, it's a really good player when it comes down to what electrons are able to do when things are binding, when they're swapping back and forth, so this is what it does.

There are creatures that have figured out how to do it without oxygen. Because think about how many elements there are, right? Water bears.

Not an element. Sorry, it took me a second to remember what they were called, right? The little little little bips that float around in space that can survive in a vacuum.

Nailed it. So that's probably an ... you're talking tardigrade, right? What?

A tardigrade. A water bear. Yeah, a water bear.

That's what I said. What did you say? Tardigrade?

Well which is it? I'm pretty sure that's its name, and then that's like a cutesy water bear. Potato-

Water bear, right? (laughs).

So here's a better question, because there are actually quite a few things that can create energy totally in the presence of ... without the presence of oxygen, and in fact will die if in its, right, if in its presence because it winds up being toxic. They are mostly unicellular. Do we know any, any... multi-celled... things that don't like oxygen.

Yes, and that's what's so cool. Oh. Is-.

No, it's so cool. You shouldn't sound dejected you should be like "that's exciting, Brit." Oh. That is much better (laughs) So it wasn't until recently that we actually figured out there's a multicellular organism that 100% lives without oxygen. 'Cause it's one thing to be like "it survived for 30 seconds without oxygen" And then-

I can do that.

You sure can, and I'm proud of you, but actually lives exclusively Anaerobically and they are called loricifera, and they are tiny. So they're very small. But they are multicellular, and they're within the animal kingdom, and so that was actually a big deal because we're like "you know what?" Whoa right?

Ooougah? Just like that. So where do you think those live?

In the... ocean, because that seems to be where all really basic life exists next to a. Vent. One of those spires that just- It's like playing charades. i It was... it lives in the ocean next to a vent where all the hot water comes out.

I don't know,. I don't know if they're specifically near, so you're thinking about hydro, like hydro-. Hydro vents. -vents where those are anoxic, so without oxygen environments.

And we actually find a lot of anaerobic organisms that are there. Wait, what? What?

There's oxygen there. I'm saying- There's got to be oxygen there because like crabs live there. Mmm... so, in those sulfuric vents though.

Yeah. Like actual in those- Oh, like in those. Sure.

Sure. So the loricifera, yes. They're in the ocean, so, if you want to really think back though, our earth did not always have oxygen in fact.

Yes. When researchers have been looking into this they basically look at two different pieces in time. There's the oxygenation event where we got a lot of atmospheric oxygen, and there's also the deep ocean oxygenation event.

So basically that would have come after we got it in the atmosphere because it needed to dissolve and then go down to the bottom. And so in order to have something that is doing just fine without oxygen, that tells us that in its. Evolutionary history it most likely was around in deep ocean, right?

Uh-huh. Before oxygen even got there, and hasn't had a reason to need to change that. Well then why aren't we, why aren't we just like convinced looking at any other kind of oceanic environment in our own solar system.

Why can't we just be like "Oh. Hey Neptune?" (Is there is there water on Neptune? I can't remember.) I'm getting thrown off.

No, it's a gas giant. But can the, is the gas like, is it because there's gas on Titan but the gravity is so strong. It's like pudding.

I remember that from elementary school, so there's no other water in our solar system besides on earth? There's it in frozen form so-. Yeah.

So why couldn't there be, well do we know it's frozen all the way through? How do we know that the heat of the planet isn't warming up part of it? Are you tell- there can't be ice from the top all the way down to the bottom?

There's not. You'll see. A thousand years from now and these have been in the all of these episodes have been put in the Library of Congress.

They'll be like "Hey. I knew it. Somebody called it." And then they'll just look at everything I say from here on out and I'll be the new Nostradamus for the three thousandth century.

There's a difference between some liquid water and an ocean, so it's not totally fair to be like "let's look at all the other oceans in our solar system and see if we find it." It's like Do we ever-

That's a lot, that's a tall bill to ask for an ocean. Okay, yeah. But do we ever find bacteria frozen in our glaciers?

Up our polar icecaps? Do we ever find microscopic life in the ice? Yeah.

Well, then who's to say that we aren't gonna find microscopic ice on the others? Just on Mars! No one.

It's right there. I don't think that life is as rare as we think it is. Perhaps life is evolving right now right outside of our own solar system in a totally different environment than what we would predict.

Just because life on Earth has evolved this way so so our thinking has become modular. Oxygen, water, sunlight, warmth. I would say that it is highly likely because on just our one planet we see.

Organisms use everything from sulfur to oxygen to light, right, to make energy. So I say if we have that much variety here? Absolutely.

There's other ways to do it, right? We see it in the incredible amount of biodiversity we have here in terms of how things use and cycle energy right? Yeah.

So II venture to say yes. After I said it. I said it first.

Literally said it first. Thanks for watching this very first episode of From A to B. I certainly had fun.

I always do somehow with the silly things that you do and say. But I love how much you are interested in life on Earth, and I think that our viewers are as well, and so we'll keep on doing this. Thanks for watching and we'll see you next time