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  1. The Littlest Extinction: Amazon Deforestation Wipes Out Microbial Communities, Too

    Deforestation can wipe out trees and cause habitat loss that leads to the extinction of animals like birds and mammals. Some of the impacts of massive, sudden tree loss in places like the Amazon, though, may have been too small to notice until now. Reporting this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers found that deforestation can profoundly change the makeup of bacteria in soil, wiping out microbial communities that help to make ecosystems unique.

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  2. Transparent Dirt Gives Soil Researchers Best Ever Look At Root Systems

    Researchers have a new way to learn more about the rhizosphere -- the system of plant roots that is constantly at work beneath our feet, anchoring, feeding and nurturing the planet's plant life. Though roots are practically everywhere beneath us, science still has a lot of questions about how they work, as their underground placement and slow development can make root systems difficult to study accurately. That may be changing, though, as a new transparent soil substitute offers researchers a chance to watch root systems take shape in their (sort of) natural element for the first time ever.

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