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Latest Soil biology Stories

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2010-02-25 15:21:42

Novel species found to be more widely distributed in world's seas Marine scientists long believed that a microbe called Trichodesmium, a member of a group called the cyanobacteria, reigned over the ocean's nitrogen budget. New research results reported on-line today in a paper in Science Express show that Trichodesmium may have to share its nitrogen-fixing throne: two others of its kind, small spherical species of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria called UCYN-A and Crocosphaera watsonii, are also...

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2010-02-21 13:26:55

Flightless birds, blind cave shrimp, and other oddities suggest a "use it or lose it" tendency in evolution. In the microbial world, an unusual marine microorganism appears to have ditched several major metabolic pathways, leaving it with a remarkably reduced set of genes. This metabolic minimalist is a specialist uniquely suited to performing one very important function: taking nitrogen gas from the atmosphere and "fixing" it into a form that makes this essential nutrient available to other...

2009-11-10 18:41:37

Female plants were more likely to be colonized by the mycorrhizal fungi than male plants The war between the sexes has been fought on many fronts throughout time"”from humans to birds to insects, the animal kingdom is replete with species involved in their own skirmishes. A recent study by Dr. Sarah Eppley and colleagues at Portland State University published in the November issue of the American Journal of Botany (www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/full/96/11/1967) demonstrates that certain...

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2009-11-02 13:40:00

Nitrogen fixation in the Atlantic Scientists including researchers from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton and the University of Essex have discovered that interactions between iron supply, transported through the atmosphere from deserts, and large-scale oceanic circulation control the availability of a crucial nutrient, nitrogen, in the Atlantic. Their findings have potentially important implications for understanding global climate, both past and future. Nitrogen is an essential...

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2009-10-16 08:00:01

Sediment samples from methane cold seeps off California shed light on mystery Scientists have identified an unexpected metabolic ability in a symbiotic community of deep-sea microorganisms. It may help solve a lingering mystery about the world's nitrogen cycle. The element nitrogen is a critical part of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and therefore essential to all life. Although nitrogen is plentiful on Earth--it represents 78 percent of the atmosphere, by volume--the element...

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2009-09-02 15:13:11

After more than a decade of inquiry, a Princeton-led team of scientists has turned the tables on a long-standing controversy to re-establish an old truth about nitrogen mixing in the oceans. For decades, scientists thought they had a handle on the workings of an intricate natural mechanism known as the nitrogen cycle, essential to maintaining life on Earth. This process, one of nature's most elegant sleights-of-hand, shuttles nitrogen from the soils to the oceans to the atmosphere and back. A...

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2009-08-04 09:45:00

Climate change, land-use patterns are culprits, scientists to report at Ecological Society of America conferenceWhat do the Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone," global climate change, and acid rain have in common? They're all a result of human impacts to Earth's biology, chemistry and geology, and the natural cycles that involve all three.On August 4-5, 2009, scientists who study such cycles--biogeochemists--will convene at a special series of sessions at the Ecological Society of America (ESA)'s...

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2009-07-17 13:41:50

Thread-like fungi that grow in soils at high elevations may play an important role in restoring whitebark and limber pine forests in Canada. Montana State University professor Cathy Cripps is looking for ways to use fungi to help pine seedlings get a strong start. Cripps' is working with resource managers and visitor relations staff from Waterton Lakes National Park (WLNP). She is part of a project that aims to restore fire to the national park, reduce the impact of noxious weeds and restore...

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2009-07-12 13:05:00

Scientists and researchers are scouring the Palouse region from eastern Washington into the Idaho panhandle in hopes of finding more of the dwindling giant Palouse earthworms, The Associated Press reported. The almost elusive worm is said to secrete a lily-like smell when handled, spit at predators, and live in burrows 15 feet deep. There have been only a handful of sightings. Even though there has been little research done on the Palouse worm, conservationists are asking the Obama...

2009-07-07 11:06:54

Biologists know that when plants battle for sNitrogen research shows how some plants invade, take over otherspace, often the actual battle is for getting the nitrogen.Now, research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln gives important new information on how plants can change "nitrogen cycling" to gain nitrogen and how this allows plant species to invade and take over native plants.In an article published July 6 in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UNL...