bacteria

USGS

Deserts like the American Southwest are expected to get drier as the climate warms. That’s bad news for soil microbes, according to a global study co-authored by researchers at Northern Arizona University.


National Park Service, Flickr

Scientists have a new worry about a special group of organisms that protects soil on the Colorado Plateau. They’re called “biocrusts,” and they’re easily destroyed when trampled—but new research shows there’s another menace: climate change.

Biocrust is created by mosses and lichens glued together with photosynthetic bacteria. It forms a kind of bumpy shield on the soil surface.   

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