bacteria inside a biofilm
How Bacterial Communities Divvy up Duties
Biofilms are home to millions of microbes, but disrupting their interactions could produce more effective antibiotics.
How Bacterial Communities Divvy up Duties
How Bacterial Communities Divvy up Duties

Biofilms are home to millions of microbes, but disrupting their interactions could produce more effective antibiotics.

Biofilms are home to millions of microbes, but disrupting their interactions could produce more effective antibiotics.

soil microbiome

The Biofilm Life Cycle
Infographic: Stages of Biofilm Formation
Holly Barker, PhD | Jun 1, 2023 | 1 min read
Free-swimming bacteria settle on a surface to cooperate and form a protective biofilm.
Rows of soybean plants with green leaves beneath a partially clouded sky with the rising sun in the background.
As Carbon Dioxide Goes Up, Plants’ Nutrient Content Declines
Dan Robitzski | Nov 3, 2022 | 5 min read
Abundant environmental CO2 can increase plant biomass and photosynthesis, but it has downsides for agriculture and ecosystems, a growing body of research finds.
A mesquite tree in an arid environment
Climate Change May Favor Nitrogen-Fixing Plants
Andy Carstens | Oct 17, 2022 | 2 min read
Aridity appears to configure landscapes with a greater diversity of plant species that rely on symbiotic bacteria for nitrogen.
Steam rises from a blue-gray hot spring, visible beyond a patch of reddish, rocky soil.
Soil Microbes Sacrifice Ribosomes in Response to Warming
Sophie Fessl, PhD | Mar 29, 2022 | 4 min read
When soil heats up, microbes scale back protein synthesis machinery by making use of higher reaction rates that occur at higher temperatures, a study finds.
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
Warming Permafrost Morphs Microbes into Greenhouse Gas Emitters
Ashley Yeager | Nov 1, 2019 | 5 min read
Insulating tundra soil with snow increased the abundance of microbial species involved in carbon dioxide and methane release.
Image of the Day: Root Pottery
Emily Makowski | Sep 16, 2019 | 1 min read
An agroecology grad student creates rhizosphere-inspired art.
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.

How Bacteria Eat Penicillin
Shawna Williams | Apr 30, 2018 | 3 min read
Scientists work out the specific genes and biochemical steps required for digesting the very drugs designed to kill microbes.
New Antibiotic Resistance Genes Found in Soil Microbes
Ashley Yeager | Jun 19, 2017 | 3 min read
The discovery of peptides, enzymes, and other gene products that confer antibiotic resistance could give clues to how it develops.
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.
National Microbiome Initiative Launched
Tanya Lewis | May 13, 2016 | 2 min read
The White House announces a new effort to study diverse microbial communities around the planet.
Cultural Riches
Anna Azvolinsky | Sep 30, 2015 | 1 min read
Researchers devise new techniques to facilitate growing bacteria collected from the environment.
Underground Immunity
Kara Manke | Jul 16, 2015 | 3 min read
Arabidopsis thaliana defense hormones shape the plant’s root microbiome. 
Soil Microbiome of Central Park
Jef Akst | Sep 30, 2014 | 3 min read
Nearly 600 soil samples from New York City’s famous park reveal that the urban environment harbors just as much biodiversity as natural ecosystems across the globe.
Incorporating Soil Microbes in Climate Change Models
Joe Turner | Sep 23, 2014 | 4 min read
Without a solid understanding of how the soil microbiome contributes to atmospheric carbon, researchers are struggling to determine whether dirt-dwelling bacteria could impact—and be impacted by—climate change.
Farmer Fungi
Abby Olena, PhD | Jan 1, 2014 | 4 min read
Researchers uncover an unprecedented relationship between morels and bacteria. But can it be called agriculture?