A surprising number of microorganisms – more than 100 times more kinds than reported just four months ago – are leaping the biggest gap on the planet. Hitching rides in the upper troposphere, they’re making their way from Asia across the Pacific Ocean and landing in North America.
For the first time researchers have been able to gather enough biomass in the form of DNA to apply molecular methods to samples from two large dust plumes originating in Asia in the spring of 2011. The scientists detected more than 2,100 unique species compared to only 18 found in the very same plumes using traditional methods of culturing, results they published in July. (more…)