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Deforestation in the Amazon equals net losses of diversity for microbial communities
Date:12/24/2012

s, said the team found important differences between the pasture and forest soil. For example, the number of bacterial species in the pasture soil was higher, but those species were also less related to one another than species in the forest soil.

"The combination of loss of forest species and the homogenization of pasture communities together signal that this ecosystem is now a lot less capable to deal with additional outside stress," Nsslein said.

In addition to Rodrigues and Nsslein, co-authors of the paper include: Babur Mirza, UT Arlington; Vivian Pellizari, Siu Mui Tsai, Brigitte Feigl and Fabiana Paula, the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil); Rebecca Mueller and Brendan Bohannan, University of Oregon; Kyunghwa Baek and George Hamaoui, University of Massachusetts; Ederson da C. Jesus, Embrapa-Agrobiologia (Brazil) and James Tiedje, Michigan State University.

"Our findings are especially important because they support the idea that microbes are impacted by human-caused environmental change," said Bohannan, director of the University of Oregon's Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This knowledge is important because microbes are responsible for critical environmental processes, such as the recycling of nutrients, the production of clean water and the removal of pollutants, Bohannan said.

Tiedje said the unique study was conducted on a scale that had not been attempted before.

"The systematic and large-scale sampling design of this study gave us the power to see the homogenization," he said.

Scientists on the research team hope their work will provide valuable data to those making decisions about the future of the Amazon rainforest.

"The Amazon represents half of the world's rainforest and is home to one-third of Earth's species, yet the Amazon has one of the highest rates of deforestation," co-authors Pellizari, Tsai and Feigl said in a joint statement. "Agriculture is one of the largest and most dynamic parts of Brazil's ec
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Contact: Traci Peterson
tpeterso@uta.edu
817-521-5494
University of Texas at Arlington
Source:Eurekalert  

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