Legal immigrants: invasion of alien microbial communities during winter occurring desert dust storms (02 Feb)

Saharan dust event in the Dolomite Alps on February 19th 2014. a Back trajectories computed at different height levels and expressed in pressure values (color scale: <100 and >900 hPa).The starting point is located at Long 11.81° and Lat 46.86°, on 19th of Feb 2014 12:00 UTC. Solid circles represent locations every 6 h and numbers refer to date (day of February). b Map (made with Natural Earth) showing collection sites in the Dolomite Alps. c Snow samples were collected wearing protective suits, facemasks, and vinyl gloves. d Snowpit (2 m depth) consisting of layer A: snow that fell after the Saharan dust event; layer B: Saharan sand-containing snow, clearly distinguishable by its light brown color. and layer C: snow that fell before the Saharan dust event. e Relative abundances of the most abundant bacterial (16S rRNA gene) and fungal (ITS) classes present in the three snow layers and the soil layer (not shown). Saharan sand-containing snow is characterized by a higher relative abundance of Actinobacteria and Dothideomycetes.

Saharan Dust is transported North to Italy  by the Scirocco wind over the Atlantic. Deposits can be found in the Venice region and the Alps beyond. How are winds that blow over the Mediterranean an analog for the refugee crisis in Europe?

Contributed by Haseeb Ahmed.

Source: Gobbi, G.p., et al. “An Inclusive View of Saharan Dust Advections to Italy and the Central Mediterranean.” Atmospheric Environment, vol. 201, 2019, pp. 242–256., doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2019.01.002.