Description from Alistair Reynolds’ “Revelation Space” of the “The Jugglers”, a sea of microbial organisms.
What was known – and again not properly understood – was that the Jugglers had the capacity to store and retrieve information, acting like a single, planet-wide neural net. This information was stored on many levels, from the gross connectivity patterns of surface-floating tendrils, down to the free-floating strands of RNA. It was impossible to say whether each world contained many Jugglers or merely one arbitrarily extended individual, for the islands themselves were linked by organic bridges. They were world-sized living repositories of information; vast informational sponges [pg 105].
Reynolds goes on to describe “microscopic tendrils” that could penetrate anything that entered the ocean, decode its structure, and re-imprint that structure later on another, disimilar organism.