Episode Summary

First episode of a climate-related arc! Considering microorganisms is important when predicting the amount of carbon coming from soil as temperature increases!

Microbe of the episode

Microbe of the episode: Streptomyces virus Zemlya

News discussed

Jesse's takeaways

Soil as a whole has a big influence on the climate of the planet, by enabling the communities of organisms that live in it to interact and grow, taking up gases from the atmosphere and putting others back in. Even aside from plants that grow in it, the other organisms in soil can respire and break down compounds to produce CO2, adding to what's in the atmosphere already.

There has long been observed a relationship between ambient temperatures and this respiration in soil, such that more heat means more activity and more gases released from the soil, but today's study found that the microbial biomass in a given piece of land can have a big effect on the temperature/respiration relationship.

Journal Paper

ńĆapek P, Starke R, Hofmockel KS, Bond-Lamberty B, Hess N. 2019. Apparent temperature sensitivity of soil respiration can result from temperature driven changes in microbial biomass. Soil Biol Biochem 135:286–293.

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