Just a few bacterial taxa found in ecosystems across the planet are responsible for more than half of carbon cycling in soils. These new findings, made by researchers at Northern Arizona University and published in Nature Communications this week, suggest that despite the diversity of microbial taxa found in wild soils… Read more
Predatory bacteria—bacteria that eat other bacteria—grow faster and consume more resources than non-predators in the same soil, according to a new study from Northern Arizona University. These active predators, which use wolfpack-like behavior, enzymes, and cytoskeletal “fangs” to hunt and feast on other bacteria, wield important power in determining where… Read more
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… 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… 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… 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… Read more