One of the most detailed genomic studies of any ecosystem has revealed an underground world of microbial diversity. The research has added dozens of new branches to the tree of life. The bacterial find comes from scientists who reconstructed the genomes of more than 2,500 microbes from sediment and groundwater samples collected at an aquifer in Colorado.
The scientists netted genomes from 80 percent of all known bacterial phyla, a remarkable degree of biological diversity at one location. They also discovered 47 new phylum-level bacterial groups, naming many of them after influential microbiologists and other scientists. And they learned new insights about how microbial communities work together to drive processes that are critical to the planet's climate and life everywhere, such as the carbon and nitrogen cycles.
Between the 47 new bacterial groups reported in this work, and 35 new groups published last year has led to a doubling of the number of known bacterial groups.
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Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle