The soil of the earth is a rich mixture of minerals, organic matter from decomposed plants and animals, and a thriving network of bacteria and other organisms.
All of these components are essential for healthy soil, and only a handful of dirt are teeming with life .
Now, a new study has shown that the distribution of soil microbes is influenced by the climate and that today's soil microbes were influenced by climate change 50 years ago.
While climate change affects the geographic distribution of soil microbes, there is little research on how climate changes soil diversity.
Researchers at the Gladstone Institute for Data Science and Biotechnology and the Institute of Soil Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted a study and sequenced soil samples from North America and the Tibetan Plateau.
"Climate in the past can predict the spread of bacteria better than today's climate," said Katherine Pollard, lead author of the study.
The research was published in the journal mSystems.
First, the team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences sequenced 1
There, the sequenced soil samples and soil samples from North America were compared with historical climate data from the year 1950.
The researchers found that the mixture of existing soil bacteria was heavily influenced by the climate 50 years ago. The spread of soil microbes is likely to change significantly in the coming years.
A delayed distribution of certain bacteria was found in the soil samples, and this is consistent with previous studies that found similar stagnant periods for plants and animals that took years to adapt to climate change.
"We found these surprisingly long delays in how the distribution of microbes responds to changes in the climate and the environment," said Joshua Ladau, a lead investigator.
The researchers also used their data to predict future soil microbial distribution based on current climate trends, and found that microbial diversity increased over the next half-century, while adapting to the impact of today's climate.
By Kay Vandette, Earth.com Associate Writer
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