Free Trial

Safari Books Online is a digital library providing on-demand subscription access to thousands of learning resources.

  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint

Shaping the planet

The Earth’s biosphere consists of millions of ecosystems. When ecosystems interrelate, they form large ecosystem communities. The Earth thus has grassland, rainforest, polar communities, and so on. Although members interact at boundaries called edges, such as the interface between marine and shore life, many of Earth’s communities remain separated by distance. Migrating herds and birds connect some communities but not all of them at once. Only bacteria connect all of Earth’s communities by the constant recycling of nutrients through soil, the oceans, and the atmosphere.

No one needs a degree in microbiology to find these microbes all around and performing their life-giving activities. In the country, notice the lichen growing on rocks, dead leaves decomposing underfoot, and the glimpses of color when a lake ripples. If you live in the city, bacteria live all around. Biofilms coat storm drains and metal-metabolizing bacteria weather bridges and buildings. Soot in the air carries bacteria from block to block. It is easier to detect the invisible universe than it is to find places having no bacteria.


  

You are currently reading a PREVIEW of this book.

                                                                                                                    

Get instant access to over $1 million worth of books and videos.

  

Start a Free Trial


  
  • Safari Books Online
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint