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Thunderstorm in Mato Grosso Brazil
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Thunderstorm in Mato Grosso, Brazil

May 17, 2013
A thunderstorm looms over a soybean field at Tanguro Ranch in Mato Grosso, Brazil. This location was the primary field site of a study by researchers at Brown University of three soybean growing regions--the state of Iowa, Mato Grosso in Brazil and Buenos Aires in Argentina--that focused on the relationship between soils and phosphorus, a key agricultural nutrient. While the scarcity of phosphorus is a concern, the overuse of it can post another problem: harmful algal blooms in waterways. "Too much and our waterways are choked with algae," said Stephen Porder, assistant professor of biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown and co-author of the study. "Too little and we cannot produce enough food." To learn more about this study, which was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (grant DEB 06-40661), awarded to Christopher Neill of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, see the Brown news story Soil determines fate of phosphorus. (Date of Image: January 2008) Credit: Christopher Neill, Marine Biological Laboratory