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Millions of sequences of data, derived from 6 different primer sets have come together in a single study to make up one of the largest known investigations on the distribution patterns of soil microorganisms!

Why is this study so different?

No single study has assessed such a large array of microorganisms including both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, to give a concise account of microbial diversity within the soil. Whats more microbial distribution was assessed under changing land use management - Set Aside and arable conditions.

Essentially set aside land that was removed from agriculture as part of a government scheme to address the issues of grain surplus. Farmers were paid to either implement rotational or permanent set aside. Benefits to macroorganisms such as birds, bees, butterflies are evident, however little is known about the implications of these changes on microorganisms.

19 taxa groups have been investigated ranging from Stramenopiles, Glomeromycota, Firmicutes, Acidobacteria, Nematoda, Cercozoa and Archaea! The question is what is driving their distribution?!

Is it really just pH?

Does geographical distance really play any part?

Or is it just a complex combination of the two?

How different are the bacteria to archaea?

Using the strength of a paired field design and 454 sequencing across 390km of soil, this question has been addressed and the results are in!

You'll be surprised. As this work is currently being written up as a paper, pop back soon for the link the publication...