There’s a forest in Massachusetts that for nearly 30 years has hosted the world’s longest running soil-warming experiment, measuring how hotter temperatures impact the tiny life-forms that live in the dirt.
With the way climate change is going, you could say the future itself is buried in that heated dirt. But our unknown tomorrows aren’t all that’s hiding there.
In this oversized outdoor research laboratory, scientists have made an unexpected discovery, finding 16 rare ‘giant’ viruses that are completely new to science.
“We were not looking for giant viruses,” says biologist Jeff Blanchard from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass).
“Our goal was to isolate bacteria directly from the environment to understand how microbial communities are changing in response to soil warming.”