The Microbiome of the Clouds

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  • Athanasios Nenes Athanasios Nenes

Bacteria in the soil can hitch a ride on raindrops and be deposited into the air once the drops pop, according to a recent study in Nature Communications. Under the right wind conditions, some of these bacteria could be lifted even higher into the sky. But what happens once microbes are in the atmosphere? Atmospheric chemist Athanasios Nenes, a professor with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is currently collecting samples of the airborne microbiome in the troposphere five to nine miles above the Eastern Mediterranean. So far he has found a mix of 17 different taxa of bacteria. Nenes, along with EAS professor Rodney Weber and other researchers, also helped develop a unique instrument to measure bioavailable phosphate ions in atmospheric particles. Bioavailable phosphate can act as a fertilizer for the oceans, with profound impacts for ocean life and the carbon cycle.


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College of Sciences

College of Sciences, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Chemistry and Biomolecular Engineering, Athanasios Nenes, Rodney Weber, climate, clouds, bacteria, atmospheric chemistry
  • Created By: Renay San Miguel
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 13, 2017 - 10:28am
  • Last Updated: Mar 13, 2017 - 11:08am