The world’s largest, and biologically diverse lake

Human‐induced global change is altering most ecosystems on Earth. How ecosystems will respond greatly depends on their biodiversity: genetic diversity may allow populations to adapt to change and functional diversity allows different species to carry out many different ‘jobs’ in the ecosystem, increasing its resilience. The exact mechanisms of how different dimensions of biodiversity determine ecosystem responses to global change are, how‐ ever, poorly understood. An interdisciplinary team of researchers will use 60 years of unique ecological data, extensive field sampling, genetic analyses, laboratory experiments and novel mathemati‐ cal models…

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Evolutionary and ecological history of Amazonia

Amazonia Amazonia is Earth’s most iconic center of biological diversity and endemism. It includes a vast landscape of lowland rainforest in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela. It harbors the world’s highest species diversity, the largest fresh‐water ecosystem in the world, and contributes substantially to shaping the Earth’s atmospheric gasses and oceans and conse‐ quently its climate. Despite this global importance, we do not fully understand how this biodiversity‐ rich biome developed over time. Knowing that history is crucially important for understanding how the short and long‐term effects of…

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Microorganisms are abundant in the atmosphere

Microorganisms Microorganisms are abundant in the atmosphere and widely distributed by air currents, yet little is known about the abundance, diversity, and flux of microorganisms in the atmosphere. Numerous studies have provided evidence that microorgan‐ isms in the atmosphere may affect cloud develop‐ ment, cloud chemistry, and thus weather patterns. Ice formation in clouds is important in the pro‐ cesses leading to precipitation, but at temperatures warmer than ‐36oC (‐33°F), water drops in clouds require particles, ice nucleators, to initiate freezing. The most active naturally occurring ice nucleators are microorganisms…

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