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Microbial Ecology

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Decomposer FungiWe live on a microbial planet--microorganisms are the most abundant and diverse of all organisms. Soils contain most of the planet’s undiscovered biodiversity, and soil microorganisms carry out critical ecosystem functions. They decompose organic materials, recycle nutrients, produce and consume greenhouse gases, and can be used for biocontrol of plant and animal pests. Microbial researchers at Harvard Forest study the ecological, biogeochemical and evolutionary processes associated with microbes in terrestrial ecosystems. They integrate cutting edge technologies in molecular biology, bioinformatics, and biogeochemistry to investigate microbial physiology, community dynamics, and structure-function linkages.

We are currently investigating microbial responses to: