UW Today

November 6, 2013

Floods didn’t provide nitrogen ‘fix’ for earliest crops in frigid north

Trees, sediments in floodplain

Floods didn’t make floodplains fertile during the dawn of human agriculture in the Earth’s far north. Turns out early human inhabitants can mainly thank cyanobacteria. It raises the question of whether modern farmers might reduce fertilizer use by taking advantage of cyanobacteria that occur, not just in the floodplains studied, but in soils around the world.