Leafcutter ant ‘compost piles’ produce potent greenhouse gases

Science | AAAS | 1/1/2019 | Staff
MandyixusMandyixus (Posted by) Level 3
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Leafcutter ants are known for producing lots of trash. In fact, the species Atta colombica (above) can create bathtub-size, thigh-high mounds of refuse that contain not only leaves, but also ant poop, bacteria, and dead ants. Now, researchers have discovered these massive compost piles are potent sources of greenhouse gases.

Researchers analyzed the exhalations of 22 leafcutter mounds in southwestern Costa Rica. They found that in the humid, oxygen-poor conditions of the piles, bacteria produce prodigious amounts of methane and nitrous oxide. Levels of methane seeping from the mounds were about 20 times higher than those emanating from the surrounding forest floor. But the big surprise was...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Science | AAAS
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