Researcher Invents New Field to Study Life Found in Smoke

As flames still burn from another year of disastrous fires, Leda Kobziar (of the University of Idaho) works to grow a new field of study, Pyroaerobiology, that surveys life found in the puffs of smoke emitted from forest fires. Not only bacteria, fungi, and archaea flourish here, but allergens and viruses, too. When the ashen clouds rise and permeate faraway places, so do the things carried inside, and they often permanently alter ecosystems, infect crops or blossoming plants, and even harm citizens. Using drones that can rise into the thick of the clouds, Kobziar is forging an entirely original area of research and carving space for potentially life-changing discoveries typically masked by the overall faulting of climate change. Read more at Popular Mechanics.