Soil is the key to Earth's history (and future)

The English language is full of phrases—from "bogged down" to "feet of clay" and "dirt cheap"—that reflect how we appreciate the diversity of soil, but value it little.

Tracing the process of nitrous oxide formation in the ocean

Nitrogen is of fundamental importance for life on Earth. Depending on the forms and compounds in which it occurs, it can promote life, but also limit it. In addition, some nitrogen compounds, such as nitrous oxide, are extremely ...

Microbes can grow on nitric oxide

Nitric oxide is a fascinating and versatile molecule, important for all living things as well as our environment. It is highly reactive and toxic; it is used as a signaling molecule; it depletes the ozone layer in our planet's ...

The fiddlers influencing mangrove ecosystems

The types of bacteria living in and around fiddler crab burrows vary widely between mangroves, but their functional activities are remarkably similar.

Key players in the marine nitrogen cycle use cyanate and urea

The ammonia oxidizing archaea, or Thaumarchaeota, are among the most abundant marine microorganisms. Yet, scientists are still discovering which factors allow them to thrive in the ocean. A research team from the Max Planck ...

Utah soil's slippery grip on nutrients

Lawns in the Salt Lake Valley up to 100 years old are not yet saturated in the nutrient nitrogen, which is added by fertilizer, according to a new study from University of Utah researchers. The result is surprising, since ...

Continental microbes helped seed ancient seas with nitrogen

Like our oceans, today's continents are brimming with life. Yet billions of years ago, before the advent of plants, continents would have appeared barren. These apparently vacant land forms were believed to play no role in ...

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