Saturday, May 28, 2016

World Beneath Our Feet

Preparing to discuss mycorrhizal fungi a few years ago I began to appreciate a little of what is going on in the soil I walk on.  There were estimates that a tennis ball sized handful of good soil can contain:
  • 5,000,000,000 bacteria
  • 5,000,000 protozoa
  • 5,000 nematodes
  • 1.5 miles of fungal hyphae
Of course that is a very simplified view.  Soil composition is a complex combination of organic and inorganic chemicals as well as the biological components of animals and plants, both alive and decaying that are constantly changing the mixture.

An article from National Geographic describes "A new atlas, released Wednesday at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, attempts to map this biodiversity around the world."  While not exactly a "page turner" it has great descriptions of soil development, structure, composition etc.

It will be available in hard copy from the EU Bookshop for 25 euros in the future.  If you can't wait, or are cheap like me, you can download high or low resolution* PDF copies for free at this link.

*Low resolution is perfect for my reading on the screen or printing.  High resolution is only needed for formal printing and the download is 335 MB so be prepared for a long download time.

Thanks again to Dave Shanholzer for sending this to me.

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