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Discovery

Life Underground Critical to Earth's Ecosystems

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Photo of a researcher collecting soil samples at the Arctic LTER site.

Researchers collect soil samples in the Far North at the Arctic LTER site.

Credit: Ed Ayres, Colorado State University


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Microbiologist and NSF program director Matt Kane talks about the life on a microbial planet: Earth. Most of the biodiversity on our planet is microscopic, and lives in soil.

Credit: National Science Foundation

 

Looking underground is like peering through the looking glass in Lewis Carroll's story Alice in Wonderland, says Diana Wall, a soil biologist at Colorado State University. Life in soil abounds, and we're just beginning to discover its extent.

Credit: National Science Foundation

 

Map showing Arctic LTER Site (ARC) and Toolik Lake field research station on Alaska's North Slope.

NSF's Arctic LTER Site (ARC) and Toolik Lake field research station are on Alaska's North Slope.

Credit: NSF


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Photo of a nematode worm is extracted from tundra soil near Toolik Lake.

A nematode worm is extracted from tundra soil near Toolik Lake.

Credit: Grace Li, Colorado State University


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Photo of scientist Ed Ayres who studies animals below-ground in tundra above the Arctic Circle.

Scientist Ed Ayres studies animals below-ground in tundra above the Arctic Circle.

Credit: Johnson Nkem, Colorado State University


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Map of Alaska showing the boreal forest and location of NSF's Bonanza Creek LTER site.

Boreal forest stretches across mid-Alaska; NSF's Bonanza Creek LTER site is located here.

Credit: NSF


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Photo of Spruce trees at the Bonanza Creek LTER site.

Spruce trees cover a hidden world at the Bonanza Creek LTER site.

Credit: Ed Ayres, Colorado State University


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Photo of Bonanza Creek winding its way through the forest.

Bonanza Creek winds through miles of forest; beneath is a thriving underground world.

Credit: Diana Wall, Colorado State University


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Photo of researchers Johnson Nkem and Jamie Hollingsworth taking samples from the boreal forest.

Researchers Johnson Nkem and Jamie Hollingsworth take samples from the boreal forest.

Credit: Ed Ayres, Colorado State University


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