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Southeastern pocket gopher emerging from its tunnel
Are Pocket Gophers Underground Farmers?
A study finds that roots grow deeper than typical into southeastern pocket gophers tunnel networks, raising the possibility that the rodents cultivate their food.
Are Pocket Gophers Underground Farmers?
Are Pocket Gophers Underground Farmers?

A study finds that roots grow deeper than typical into southeastern pocket gophers tunnel networks, raising the possibility that the rodents cultivate their food.

A study finds that roots grow deeper than typical into southeastern pocket gophers tunnel networks, raising the possibility that the rodents cultivate their food.

soil
babies
Sex Ratios at Birth Linked to Pollutants
Chloe Tenn | Dec 3, 2021 | 2 min read
A large, long-term study across the US and Sweden finds potential correlations between specific pollutants and the proportions of male and female babies born.
Photograph of drought land due to climate change
An Earthy-Smelling Substance, 1964
Lisa Winter | Nov 1, 2021 | 3 min read
How the pungent odor that occurs after a light rain became a well-studied phenomenon
Cicada nymph on a tree, shedding its exoskeleton
Scientists Go Down the Cicada Hole
Lisa Winter | Jun 24, 2021 | 3 min read
Brood X’s emergence tunnels—numbering in the hundreds per square meter of soil—give researchers a special opportunity to study how such extreme soil aeration affects the ecosystem.
Forest Fungi Ride Out Wildfires by Hiding Inside Plants
Annie Greene | Apr 1, 2020 | 5 min read
Researchers uncover the “body-snatching” tactics of fungi that flourish immediately after wildfires.
The Influence of Soil on Immune Health
Jef Akst | Jan 8, 2020 | 6 min read
Recent work in humans and mice highlights how exposure to environmental microbes helps protect against allergies and other inflammatory diseases.
Life Rides the Wind in the Desert
Ashley Yeager | Dec 1, 2019 | 4 min read
As the afternoon breezes blow harder in the Atacama Desert—a place so desolate it’s used as a model of Mars—more microbes move into its driest regions.
Eavesdropping on Soil Insects Could Aid Pest Management
Michael Graw | Nov 1, 2019 | 5 min read
Insects in the soil are difficult to monitor, but listening in on the noises they make could help farmers detect pest infestations and improve estimates of biodiversity.
fusarium oxysporum gold oxidation australia
Fungus Found in Australian Soil Can Oxidize Gold
Kerry Grens | May 24, 2019 | 1 min read
The chemical process may make the metal more soluble and move it closer to the Earth’s surface.
Australian Scientist and Her Sister Found Dead in Argentina
Ashley Yeager | Jan 28, 2019 | 2 min read
The nephew of Lily Pereg, a microbial ecologist at the University of New England in Australia, has been arrested on homicide charges.
Even in the Bronze Age, Humans Altered Soil Chemistry
Kerry Grens | Jun 13, 2018 | 1 min read
Ancient bones from Ireland reveal that farming has changed nitrogen composition in land for the last 3,000 years.
Gene Expression Analysis Gets Gassy
Ruth Williams | Jun 1, 2018 | 2 min read
Soil scientists use a gas-producing reporter system to assess gene activity in bacteria.
Infographic: Gassy Genes
Ruth Williams | May 31, 2018 | 1 min read

Soil scientists get bacteria to report on what their neighbors are up to.

USDA Emails: Don’t Use “Climate Change”
Kerry Grens | Aug 8, 2017 | 2 min read
The agency denies instructing staff to avoid particular terms.
Image of the Day: Riding on Raindrops
The Scientist Staff | Mar 13, 2017 | 1 min read
A single raindrop falling on dry soil can spray a mist carrying thousands of microbes into the atmosphere. 
How Plant-Soil Feedback Affects Ecological Diversity
Ashley P. Taylor | Jan 12, 2017 | 4 min read
Researchers examine how underground microbes and nutrients affect plant populations.
Donor-Soil Microbes Drive Ecosystem Restoration
Tracy Vence | Jul 11, 2016 | 2 min read
Excavating existing topsoil and adding donor soil, researchers revitalized degraded farmland in the span of six years.
Putting Phytoremediation into Action
Éric Montpetit and Erick Lachapelle | Aug 1, 2015 | 3 min read
Researchers studying the use of bacteria and plants to remove toxins from the soil must better communicate their results if they want their techniques to be used by practitioners in the field.
Soil Bacteria Live on Wine Grapes
Kerry Grens | Mar 25, 2015 | 1 min read
The earthiness of Merlot may have to do with grapevine-dwelling microbiota.
Soil Bacteria May “Eat” Antibiotics
Dan Cossins | Dec 10, 2012 | 2 min read
Long-term exposure to antibiotics from agricultural run off may encourage the evolution of soil bacteria that break down and consume the antibacterial agents.
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