I have been thinking about the concept of invasive species a lot lately. In its own environment, the species has enough food to eat and predators to keep it from taking over the area. However, transplant it to a new environment where it has no natural predators, and the ecosystem gets out of whack. (Think giant snakes in the Everglades, and asian lady bugs in America).
Let’s extend this idea to a smaller magnitude. Every human plays host to a multitude of pathegens. Due to environmental factors(and the technology of vaccinations), we are immune to most of the pathogen’s ill effects. This is such a delicate balance wrought from organisms coevolving (in fact studies have found that humans depend on a bacteria killing virus living in the lining of our stomach to protect us from some lethal bacteria)
that if a group of people were to move to a previously uncolonized area, either the native people or the colonizers would be in danger of succumbing to the native pathogens. Think:The Aztecs and the conquistadors.
All these musing brings me to my sole thought: space exploration and the pursuit of life outside our own Goldilocks world. Many scientists theorize that if extraterrestrial life did exist, it wold be bacterial in nature due to the simplicity of bacteria and it’s ability to live in the harshest environments.
However, if we find life in the form of bacteria on exoplanets, it doesn’t mean that we could study it or even visit that planet. Life never exists in singularity…there is a delicate balance multiple lifeforms. It is more likely that the extraterrestrial life form would be toxic to us and our planet, or us to it. Not to mention that we are still a long way from the technology for true space exploration.
The concept still makes good sci-fi. Maybe it will be the next novel I will attempt to write…..