Berkeley Lab Team Reveals How Desert Cyanobacteria Awaken to Rainfall Then Resume Their Sleep
They lie dormant for years, but at the first sign of favorable conditions they awaken. This sounds like the tagline for a science fiction movie, but it describes the amazing life-cycles of microbial organisms that form the biological soil crusts (BSCs) of Earth’s deserts. Now a research team with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has reported a unique molecular-level analysis of a BSC cyanobacterium responding to the wetting and drying of its environment. The results hold implications for land management, improved climate change models, and a better understanding of carbon cycling in soil microbial communities and how changes in global temperatures impact Earth’s deserts.