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Soils have been called the most complex microbial ecosystems on Earth. A single gram of soil can harbor millions of microbial cells and thousands of species. However, certain soil environments, such as those experiencing dramatic change exposing new initial soils or that are limited in precipitation, limit the number of species able to survive in these systems. In this respect, these environments offer unparalleled opportunities to uncover the factors that control the development and maintenance of complex microbial ecosystems. The Biology of Arid Soils collects chapters that discuss the abiotic factors that structure arid and initial soil communities as well as the diversity and structure of the biological communities in these soils from viruses to plants.