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Microbial Ecology

Modern science has challenged the notion of the individual: Whether it’s the human body or a leaf on a tree, microbes have been shown to be an abundant — and probably essential — part of any creature’s inner and outer ecosystems. In understanding how endophytic fungi in leaves promote resistance to plant disease, Smithsonian plant ecologists envision a future of sophisticated biological pest controls. Microbial ecology also expands our understanding of biodiversity itself and how organisms communicate and move resources across time and space.

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