Forests absorb carbon dioxide and are thus an important buffer against climate change, for now. Understanding forest dynamics would enable both better management of forests and the ability to assess how they are changing.
The stability of life on Earth depends on the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and other essential elements, which in turn depend on microbial ecosystems that are, at present, poorly understood. New approaches could help gauge the potential for another mass extinction.
Viral infections modify and transform the functioning of individual cells. They do this not just for humans, animals, and plants, but also for the microbes that drive the Earth’s carbon cycle. Could this tiniest form of life impact the balance of nature on a global scale?