Opinion: Microbes gave us life

Microbes made human life possible and many species of them help keep us alive.

Every week brings news of superbugs, rare parasites, and flesh-eating bacteria. As two microbiologists working at a medical school, we know full well that those threats are real and can’t be dismissed. But the bad news unfortunately elbows aside the untold stories of the microbes that pioneered life on Earth and the diverse microbes that continue to support our lives.

For the past three years, we have been photographing traces of the earliest microbes as well as the output of those at work today. We’ve captured thousands of images of microbes in far-flung landscapes and fantastic micro-scales. What we saw compelled us to share the beauty of the microbial world in a book of photographic essays, “.” It sends a different message about microbes than what often appears in the headlines: The most fundamental realities of the microbial world are remarkably positive. Here are a few of these positive realities and even parallels to be drawn between humans and microbes.

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