When a plant is introduced (accidentally or intentionally, but usually by humans) into a new region, many factors can influence the ability for that species to become established. One major factor at play is the different set of species it will interact with in this new environment—will they work with it or against it? We naturally tend to focus on the negatives; like whether there are enemies like pathogens, predators or other competitors that will control it.
What has received less attention is how positive interactions are affecting the spread of non-native species. For example, we know that the availability of pollinators is important for many plant species. So when a species moves, it doesn’t just leave its enemies behind, it also leaves its friends, its beneficial partnerships.
And it appears that for symbiotic legumes, these beneficial partners matter a lot. Their associated rhizobia matter so much that we can see their impacts on legume species spread at a global scale, across multiple continents and islands.
A new study has found that:
The type of carbon source affects not only the composition and activity of natural microbial communities, but also in turn the types of mineral products that form in their environment.
“We’ve illustrated that as microorganisms alter their environment, their environment then affects the type of microorganisms that are there and their activity.”
Researchers took anaerobic respiration microbial communities and presented them with one of three carbon sources: glucose, a six-carbon sugar; lactate, a four-carbon compound; or acetate, a simple two-carbon compound.
Their analysis showed that a distinct series of changes occurred consistently when microbes were exposed to lactate or acetate-rich environments. However, in glucose-rich environments, they observed varying patterns of changes.
“We think that, because glucose is a larger, more complex compound that can be broken down into many simpler compounds, this opens up more chemical pathways in the community through which it can be used, and that this diverse metabolic potential accounts for the different patterns we’re seeing,” said O’Loughlin.
I normally walk barefoot all over this property. Over the years I’ve learnt to deal with rocks, thistles, baking concrete, and soil living spiders. However there’s one aspect of it that I’m yet to find a solution for. Dog shit.
We have two dogs visiting at the moment and one has had diarrhoea. It’s bad enough dodging the land mines but when it comes out runny its a whole new field game.
While washing my feet, I noticed that they could probably use a good beach sand scrubbing. One of the downsides of going barefoot is that you become complacent. It’s just so convenient that you don’t even think twice before heading in or out of the house and because I’m so tall, I rarely even see my feet. Sometimes wandering in and out carries with it soil from the garden, and I’ve noticed that while despite regular showers dead skin that would normally get rubbed off when wearing shoes, can stay and become food for microbes. Particularly on the tops of toes. Nothing a good brushing doesn’t clean off but interesting none the less, just not something I’ve had to deal with before.
I probably should wash my feet more than once in a blue moon.
I woke in the middle of the night to commotion upstairs, walking up the staircase barefoot in dim light, no sooner had I stepped off the stair mat… ugh. It’s all over the house. I don’t think I could own a dog and a house with carpet at the same time…
Floorboards, I love you. It took longer to clean the mats and rugs than the entire floor.
Now I’m playing a game of is the smell still here or there? Did I miss something? Ugh. To make matters worse tomorrow is 37C and it needs to be clean or it’ll stink the place up when my younger brother’s young son comes to visit and does his usual trick of face planting into the floor.
I found the smell. It was on the back of my calf muscle. Shit happens.