Zigmunds Orlovskis, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
British author J.R.R. Tolkien created fictional continent Middle Earth inhabited by diverse spirits, creatures, and races.Intriguingly, the history and geology of Tolkien’s Middle Earth bears symbolic resemblance to human history and Earth’sgeological past which are thought to have influenced the creation of Tolkien’s rich legacy. Inspired by these multiple literary parallels and the enormous diversity of soil microbes across the different terrestrial habitats on Earth, this composition displays a small fraction of observable soil surface microbial diversity and superimposes it on the full map of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Scientists have identified a small fraction of soil microbes and are only beginning to understand the ecological significance of microbial functions in soils. Microbial interactions may be as complex as the dealings of the inhabitants of Middle Earth but may have an impact as profound on the functioning of our planet’s ecosystems as the genesis by Valars in Tolkien’s novels. An observant viewer may also see many different shapes and characters within this composition from contours of the continent to its many islands, lakes, and mountains!
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