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Press Release 05-198
Microbes in Marine Sediments React to Temperature Changes

Discovery alters view of coastal organic matter recycling

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Marine microbes' activity goes up in warm temperatures

Sediment containing decomposed plants and animals washes downstream and collects in estuaries. Microbes in the sediment complete the final decomposition step by breaking down the organic carbon, and making it available for other organisms. Researchers recently discovered that the microbes' activity increases with rising temperature. Therefore, global climate change could potentially shift the balance of carbon recycling and storage.

Credit: Nicolle Rager-Fuller, National Science Foundation

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