Individual features in a community, like microbes or types of chemicals, affect the overall community’s development and help determine the similarity of different communities over time and space. Scientists developed a novel ecological metric, called βNTIfeat, that helps to investigate the roles of different features in community development. The resulting information can inform models of how ecosystems respond to disturbances such as climate change.
In a multi-generation experiment, researchers from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) found microbes helped plants cope with drought, but not in response to plants’ cries for help. Instead, the environment itself selected for drought-tolerant microbes. And while those hardy microbes were doing their thing, they just happened to make plants more drought-tolerant, too.
New research finds that a warming climate could flip globally abundant microbial communities from carbon sinks to carbon emitters, potentially triggering climate change tipping points.
Increasing temperature or nutrients in an ecosystem can destabilize food webs, but when temperature and nutrients increase together it can be difficult to predict the combined effects. This study examined a laboratory microbial food web consisting of bacterial prey and protist predators. It found that temperature and nutrients can alter the dynamics of microbial communities by changing how species’ abundances and average body sizes relate to each other.
Omnitrophota are nano-sized bacteria first discovered 25 years ago. Though common in many environments around the world, until now they’ve been poorly understood. An international research team produced the first large-scale analysis of Omnitrophota genomes, uncovering new details about their biology and behavior. The team’s findings are reported in the March 16 issue of the journal Nature Microbiology.
Most studies on the effects of heavy metals on bacteria living in these environments have only focused on one metal at a time. In this study, researchers found that exposing bacteria to a mixture of metals caused their metabolism to change and led them to act as if they were starved for iron.
Social connections are essential for good health and wellbeing in social animals, such as ourselves and other primates.
The rhizosphere, the underground ecological zone between and around plant roots, is difficult to study. Scientists have now developed a rhizosphere-on-a-chip with a transparent simulated soil structure that allows researchers to view how roots grow over time through the pores in the soil. Paired with specialized mass spectrometry techniques, scientist can also use the rhizosphere-on-a-chip to map the location of root-exuded molecules, like amino acids, without hurting the plant.
Two Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists have received prestigious Simons Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution Awards.
New UC Riverside research shows fungi and bacteria able to survive redwood tanoak forest megafires are microbial “cousins” that often increase in abundance after feeling the flames.