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A 10-year study of soil ecosystems has determined that microbes alter their genetic code in response to a warming climate so they can process excess carbon being absorbed by plants from the atmosphere, a team of U.S. researchers reports in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
A two degree Celsius temperature increase spurred microbes in soil ecosystems to—over many generations—tweak their DNA, amping up their respiratory systems and converting extra organic carbon in the soil to carbon dioxide.
The soil contained extra carbon because the two degree temperature increase made plants grow faster and higher; when those plants began to die, the carbon in their leaves, stems, and roots was added to the soil and taken up by the microbial community. Understanding the "black box" of carbon's fate in soil ecosystems holds important clues for better forecasting an ecosystem's response to climate change, says Georgia Institute of Technology researcher Kostas Konstantinidis, an author of the study.
"One reason that models of climate change have such big room for variation is because we don’t understand the microbial activities that control carbon in the soil," Konstantinidis said.
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
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California Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed new restrictions on oil exploration in his state yesterday by putting a moratorium on hundreds hydraulic fracturing permits until the projects are reviewed by independent scientists, as the AP reported.
Fed Agency Plans Are Not Adequate to Prevent 99.8% of U.S. Endangered Species From Suffering Climate Crisis, Study Says
By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD
While everyone has specific life stressors, factors related to job pressure, money, health, and relationships tend to be the most common.
Stress can be acute or chronic and lead to fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, nervousness, and irritability or anger.