Warming global temperatures are changing life on every continent on Earth, including Antarctica, where more microbes are moving in to territory previously covered by ice. How these microbes respond to warming offers us clues about what future Antarctica will look like and who will thrive there. Microbial ecologist and PhD candidate Alicia Purcell from the Center for Ecosystem… Read more
If the fate of carbon is a test that planet Earth is taking right now, one of the answer keys is likely to be found in soil, where microorganisms—which account for nearly 15 percent of global biomass, by some estimates—eat, store and respire carbon and other nutrients. As Earth warms, how these microbes change the way they live will have potentially big consequences for where the carbon goes.
Now, a team led… Read more
The Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and biosphere are huge reservoirs of carbon, and all play a critical role in global carbon cycling. Soil is one of the largest carbon pools on the planet, storing more carbon than the atmosphere and biosphere combined, yet scientists aren’t sure what regulates carbon persistence—the amount of carbon that remains in the soil.
Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)… Read more
Some experts estimate that a single mature oak tree produces between 200,000 and 1 million leaves each year—all of which fall from the tree in the autumn. Although “litter” from decaying leaves is sometimes viewed as a problem in urban and suburban settings, fallen leaves play a critical role in the natural world. Decomposing leaves… Read more