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hannah gavin

Hot but not bothered: Warm soils favor microbes with small genomes

Centralia, Pa., sits above rich subterranean coal seams, which made the town a mining center for about a century. In 1962, the seams were accidentally ignited by burning garbage, turning the coal from a commodity into a liability. Driven away by fire-associated hazards and particulate air pollution, all but a few human residents have long since abandoned the town. However, a new study reveals that the same isn’t true for all forms of life: A diverse population of microbial life resides in Centralia’s hot soils. These heat-tolerant microbes are offering scientists novel insights into the composition and character of soil microbial communities and resilience in response to dramatic ecosystem change.

08 Feb 2019