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Soil Bacteria Atlas

January 19, 2018

A global atlas of soil bacteria could help with soil management efforts around the world.



A soil microbe atlas. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Go outside and chances are the soil beneath your feet harbors thousands of bacterial species not yet known to science. Around the world, these microbes regulate nitrogen, break down nutrients, and control plant growth. Now, researchers report in the journal Science that they’ve completed a global atlas of soil microbes. University of Colorado Boulder microbial ecologist Noah Fierer was was surprised by what they found.

NOAH FIERER University of Colorado Boulder):

If you look across a wide range of soils from tropical rainforests to deserts to tundra, a relatively small number of bacterial species account for a large percentage of the microbial communities across the globe.


Understanding soil bacteria’s “most wanted” list could contribute to soil conservation efforts worldwide. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard