Playing in the Dirt: New Research Reveals Much About Soil and Climate Change

New research from the Ohio State University developed a new understanding about microbes and viruses in Sweden’s thawing permafrost. This new information may help scientists predict that speed at which climate change will occur.

The major players are the microbes whose control over climate change is based on their consumption or production of methane. The new set of studies from Buckeye scientists increased our understanding of these microbes.

Many of these bacterial consumers, as the study calls them, and the viruses that interact with them have never-before even been identified. While it was known to scientists that thawing permafrost would release methane, they didn’t know much about specifics of the process, nor how microbial colonies contribute to the process.

Researchers stated that as the world becomes more warm, and more wet we will need to be able to predict who things will change. So, we need to know how this microbes work. They also stated, generally speaking, knowing more about what is going on in the soil can only be a good thing.

The research was published in Nature, Nature Microbiology and ISME Journal.

Climate Change and Coral: An OSU Study

If this winter finds you stressed out and fighting a sinus infection, then you know something of what coral will endure in the face of climate change.

They don’t have sinuses, but these colorful aquatic animals do actually make mucus—“coral snot” is a thing—and the balance of different species of bacteria living in their mucus is very important, because it functions as an ad hoc immune system, keeping the coral healthy by keeping unfriendly bacteria at bay.

In a study appearing in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers at The Ohio State University and their colleagues have demonstrated how two separate effects of climate change combine to destabilize different populations of coral microbes—that is, unbalance the natural coral “microbiome”—opening the door for bad bacteria to overpopulate corals’ mucus and their bodies as a whole.

The goal of the study was to help guide conservation efforts in advance of the expected rise in ocean temperature and acidity by the end of this century, as forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).