A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate change. Pine forests are chock full of wild animals and plant life, but there's an invisible machine underground. Huge populations of fungi are churning away in the soil, decomposing organic matter and releasing carbon into the atmosphere. Despite the vital role these fungi play in ecological systems, their identities have only now been revealed. A Stanford-led team of scientists has generated a genetic map of more than 10,000 species of fungi across North America.
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