A War We Need

Radiolab for Kids

By WNYC

A War We Need

Reporter Ari Daniel visits with Willie Wilson, who studies phytoplankton--aka microscopic plant-like creatures--at Bigelow Laboratory in Maine. There's a war in Willie's test tubes. A certain sort of phytoplankton known as coccolithophores are engaged in a surprisingly complicated arms race with deadly viruses. A virus is problematic enough when you're a human. Now imagine being a single-cell plant and mixing it up with the hugest virus you've ever seen. The coccos (as we've taken to calling them) are outgunned, but they won't go down with out a serious fight.

Ari and Willie explain how our itsy-bitsy heroes take arms against (literally) a sea of troubles--and how this battle, and others like it, make life on Earth possible.

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