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CU-Boulder-led Team Gets First Look at Diverse Life Below Rare Tallgrass Prairies

Published: October 31, 2013.
By University of Colorado at Boulder

For the study, Fierer, an associate professor of microbial ecology, and his colleagues used samples of soil collected from 31 different sites spread out across the prairie's historical range. "

While Verrucomicrobia were dominant across the soil samples, the microbial makeup of each particular soil sample was unique. To get an idea of how soil microbial diversity might have varied across the tallgrass prairie when it was still an intact ecosystem, the researchers built a model based on climate information and the data from the samples.

"I am thrilled that we were able to accurately reconstruct the microbial component of prairie soils using statistical modeling and data from the few remaining snippets of this vanishing ecosystem," said Katherine Pollard, an investigator at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco and a co-author of the paper.

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