The New York Times published a story earlier this week discussing the changes that changing climate may cause to soil microbe populations. Their focus was on grazing lands in the Southwest, but it is a question that could be asked across the country. The story focused on cyanobacteria, a critical component of surface soils in dry areas, which help make up the surface crust which responds to brief desert rainfalls. A concern scientists have is that as conditions warm under current trends, populations of microbes are migrating northward. The new types of microbes that live in the soils in a particular area may make soils less fertile, reducing nutrients in the plants that grow in them, which would affect grazing conditions. Changes in soil composition could also affect its ability to withstand heavy rains, which have been increasing across the country in recent decades, and could lead to increases in erosion. You can read the story here.