Ecologists have long sought to understand global patterns of biological diversity (1, 2). Most work on this topic has focused on visible aboveground organisms that can easily be counted, such as birds, butterflies, reptiles, and plants. In contrast, knowledge of the global ecology of most belowground organism groups is limited because of their microscopic size and hidden existence. Rapid advances in molecular techniques for analyzing soil communities are now offering unprecedented opportunities for understanding soil biodiversity (3, 4). On page 1078 of this issue, Tedersoo et al. (5) use pyrosequencing of soil samples to provide a comprehensive global study of a major group of soil organisms: soil fungi.
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