Bacteria are key players in the formation of topsoil. They add carbon and nitrogen, and extract nutrients. Uprooting these microscopic residents could upset the land’s fertility and lead to soil erosion.
To investigate how a rise in temperature might alter bacterial distribution in different desert climes, researchers surveyed the microbes present in a pinch of crust from several arid locations. And they found that cooler deserts are ruled by one type of bacteria, and warmer ones are dominated by another.