Another Life: Probing the pedosphere for masters of the underworld

No organism is more important than the ant to the complex ecology of our soil

Ecosystem engineers: ants   can alter the properties of soil. Illustration: Michael Viney

Ecosystem engineers: ants can alter the properties of soil. Illustration: Michael Viney

Mweelrea, the bald king, wears a gleaming skullcap of hail. Hoar frost has crisped the grass to the rain gauge, and a tender begonia has crumpled in its pot outside the door. So the jet stream could give us that sort of winter, or perhaps the Gulf Stream, slowed by the flood of the Arctic’s freshwater.

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