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Microbial ecology

The great plate count anomaly. Counts of cells obtained via cultivation are orders of magnitude lower than those directly observed via microscope. This is because microbiologists are able to cultivate only 1% of microbes using current techniques.[1]

Microbial ecology (or environmental microbiology) is the domains of life—Eukaryota, Archaea, and Bacteria—as well as viruses.[2]

Microorganisms, by their omnipresence, impact the entire

  • International Society for Microbial Biology
  • Delong, E. F. (2007). "Microbial Communities in Nature and Laboratory - Interview". Journal of Visualized Experiments (4).  

External links

  1. ^ Hugenholtz, P. (2002). "Exploring prokaryotic diversity in the genomic era". Genome Biology 3 (2): reviews0003.reviews0001–reviews0003.reviews0001.  
  2. ^ Barton, Larry L.; Northup, Diana E. (9 September 2011). Microbial Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons. p. 22.  
  3. ^ Bowler, Chris; Karl, David M.; Colwell, Rita R. (2009). "Microbial oceanography in a sea of opportunity". Nature 459 (7244): 180–4.  
  4. ^ Konopka, Allan (2009). "What is microbial community ecology?". The ISME Journal 3 (11): 1223–30.  
  5. ^ Whitman, W. B.; Coleman, DC; Wiebe, WJ (1998). "Prokaryotes: The unseen majority". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 95 (12): 6578–83.  
  6. ^ "number of stars in the observable universe - Wolfram|Alpha". Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  7. ^ Reddy, K. Ramesh; DeLaune, Ronald D. (15 July 2004). Biogeochemistry of Wetlands: Science and Applications. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis. p. 116.  
  8. ^ Delong, Edward F. (2009). "The microbial ocean from genomes to biomes". Nature 459 (7244): 200–6.  
  9. ^ Lupp, Claudia (2009). "Microbial oceanography". Nature 459 (7244): 179.  
  10. ^ a b c Konopka, A. (2009). "Encyclopedia of Microbiology". pp. 91–106.  
  11. ^ De Wit, Rutger; Bouvier, Thierry (2006). "'Everything is everywhere, but, the environment selects'; what did Baas Becking and Beijerinck really say?". Environmental Microbiology 8 (4): 755–8.  
  12. ^ Madigan, Michael T. (2012). Brock biology of microorganisms (13th ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings.  
  13. ^ Fenchel, Tom; Blackburn, Henry; King, Gary M. (24 July 2012). Bacterial Biogeochemistry: The Ecophysiology of Mineral Cycling (3 ed.). Boston, Mass.: Academic Press/Elsevier. p. 3.  
  14. ^ McDaniel, L. D.; Young, E.; Delaney, J.; Ruhnau, F.; Ritchie, K. B.; Paul, J. H. (2010). "High Frequency of Horizontal Gene Transfer in the Oceans". Science 330 (6000): 50.  
  15. ^ Smets, Barth F.; Barkay, Tamar (2005). "Horizontal gene transfer: Perspectives at a crossroads of scientific disciplines". Nature Reviews Microbiology 3 (9): 675–8.  
  16. ^ Verstraete, Willy (2007). "Microbial ecology and environmental biotechnology". The ISME Journal 1 (1): 4–8.  
  17. ^ Ott, J. (2005). "Marine Microbial Thiotrophic Ectosymbioses". Oceanography and marine biology 42: 95–118.  


See also

Biotechnology may be used alongside microbial ecology to address a number of environmental and economic challenges. For example, molecular techniques such as community fingerprinting can be used to track changes in microbial communities over time or assess their biodiversity. Managing the carbon cycle to sequester carbon dioxide and prevent excess methanogenesis is important in mitigating global warming, and the prospects of bioenergy are being expanded by the development of microbial fuel cells. Microbial resource management advocates a more progressive attitude towards disease, whereby biological control agents are favoured over attempts at eradication. Fluxes in microbial communities has to be better characterized for this field's potential to be realised.[16] In addition, there are also clinical implications, as marine microbial symbioses are a valuable source of existing and novel antimicrobial agents, and thus offer another line of inquiry in the evolutionary arms race of antibiotic resistance, a pressing concern for researchers.[17]

Microbial resource management

Due to the high level of horizontal gene transfer among microbial communities,[14] microbial ecology is also of importance to studies of evolution.[15]

Other microbes are nitrogen which makes up 78% of the planet's atmosphere is "indigestible" for most organisms, and the flow of nitrogen into the biosphere depends on a microbial process called fixation.

They are the backbone of all organisms.


Microbes, especially bacteria, often engage in chloroplasts, which allow eukaryotes to conduct photosynthesis. Chloroplasts are considered to be endosymbiotic cyanobacteria, a group of bacteria that are thought to be the origins of aerobic photosynthesis. Some theories state that this invention coincides with a major shift in the early earth's atmosphere, from a reducing atmosphere to an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Some theories go as far as saying that this shift in the balance of gases might have triggered a global ice-age known as the Snowball Earth.


Beijirnck and Windogradsky, however, were focused on the physiology of microorganisms, not the microbial habitat or their ecological interactions.[10] Modern microbial ecology was launched by Robert Hungate and coworkers, who investigated the rumen ecosystem. The study of the rumen required Hungate to develop techniques for culturing anaerobic microbes, and he also pioneered a quantitative approach to the study of microbes and their ecological activities that differentiated the relative contributions of species and catabolic pathways.[10]

While microbes have been studied since the seventeenth-century, this research was from a primarily physiological perspective rather than an ecological one.[10] chemosynthesis, and developing the Winogradsky column in the process.[12]:644



  • History 1
  • Symbiosis 2
  • Roles 3
  • Microbial resource management 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


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