Background science links

This is a thread for collecting links to useful scientific concepts and examples of species on Earth.


Here is some information on a relative shallow (570m) hydrothermal vent.

Information on abiotic oxygen production on exoplanets.

Microscopic Life

Journey to the microcosmos is an obvious place to start, if you want to learn more about microbes then just watch this series.

Here’s a playlist of video footage of microbes.

Here’s a list of the biggest single cells discovered on Earth. It seems the largest bacteria are 0.75mm, the largest cell with a single nucleus can be 10cm tall and the largest multinucleate cell can have fronds 3m long.

Here is some information on different proposed mechanisms for single cells to form mulitcellular species. This is the TLDR.

Bacteria propelled by slime jets.

Information on the warnowiids which have very sophisitcaed eyespots possibly used for hunting.

On the subject of the smallest animals. The animal with the least cells so far discovered is a Myxozoan and has “a mere handful of cells”. Rotifers have less than a thousand cells and also don’t add cells throughout their life.

Single cells such as Choanoflagellates and Slime Moulds can form colonies with the latter being up to several square meters and 30 grams in size. Volvox algae also live in colonies of up to 50,000 individual cells.

Information about microbes in soil, how they communicate and trade with plants forming networks up to kilometers long transmitting nutrients and information.

A lecture about unusual properties and behaviour of cells.

Information on gas vacuoles.

“Multicellular life has evolved independently at least 25 times”, Single celled “Yeast evolved from multicellular ancestors” link

Information on radiotrophic organisms. A patent for using melanin and radiation to make plants, worms, fungi and bacteria grow faster.

Vampyrella basically uses a straw pilus.

Plasmids are used by some Eukaryotes.

Small colony of algae, propelled by flagella, with a light spot for guidance towards light.

Paulinella, a Eukaryote, took a cyanobacterium as a symbiont 90-140m years ago distinctly from the original event 1bn years ago which most plants are descended from…

Macroscopic Life

Flying and gliding animals have evolved separately many times, without any single ancestor. Flight has evolved at least four times, in the insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats. Gliding has evolved on many more occasions. Link

On the colour of plants on alien planets.

Cool thread of unusual animals on the community forums.

Animals which can photosynthesize. Humans use UV light in the production of vitamin D.


Potential units for the processes in the game before it gets buried.

So here’s a quick computation: From here

“Quiescent human fibroblasts of unreported volume were found to consume about 1 mmol glucose per gram of protein per hour”

“The protein content of a characteristic 3000 µm3 cell volume is about 300 pg corresponding to 3×10^9 cells per gram of protein.”

So 1 cell would use approx 3x10^-13 mol of glucose per hour. Molecular weight of glucose is 180g/mol so that’s 6x10^-11 grams per hour or 1.7x10^-14 per second which is like 17 femtograms per second ha ha, not sure I’ve ever used units that small.

So when a cell uses 0.21 glucose per second that could be 0.21 femtograms.