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The Quest for Simple Rules to Build a Microbial Community
Microbiologists are searching for a universal theory of how bacteria form communities based not on their species but on the roles they play.
‘Species Repulsion’ Enables High Biodiversity in Tropical Trees
Because tree seedlings don’t grow as well when close to their parents, more tree species can be packed into tropical forests.
In a Fierce Desert, Microbe ‘Crusts’ Show How Life Tamed the Land
Extreme microorganisms carpeting the Atacama Desert in Chile illuminate how life might have first taken hold on Earth’s surface.
The Key to Species Diversity May Be in Their Similarities
New modeling work suggests why nature is more diverse than niche-based ecological theory predicts.
She Tracks the DNA of Elusive Species That Hide in Harsh Places
On Mount Everest and in the Peruvian Andes, Tracie Seimon uses DNA to study how species and ecosystems respond to climate change, pathogens and other influences.
Simpler Math Predicts How Close Ecosystems Are to Collapse
By replacing thousands of equations with just one, ecology modelers can more accurately assess how close fragile environments are to a disastrous “tipping point.”
With Nothing to Eat Except Viruses, Some Microbes Thrive
“Virovores” — organisms that survive and multiply by eating viruses — might influence the flow of energy through ecosystems.
She Finds Keys to Ecology in Cells That Steal From Others
The ecologist Holly Moeller studies microorganisms that expand their range by absorbing organelles and gaining new metabolic talents from their prey.
How Genes Can Leap From Snakes to Frogs in Madagascar
The discovery of a hot spot for horizontal gene transfer draws attention to the possible roles of parasites and ecology in such changes.