Microbial Ecology

∞ generated and posted on 2015.12.30 ∞

Study of the interaction of microorganisms with environments and environments with microorganisms.

As ecology is the study of interactions between organisms and the abiotic as well as biotic aspects of environments, conspecifics along with other species, so too Microbial Ecology is the study of these things from the perspective of microorganisms and, just as tends to be the case for ecology more generally, not from an explicitly medical perspective.

From E. O Wilson (1994):

If I could do it all over again, and relive my vision in the twenty-first century, I would be a microbial ecologist. Ten billion bacteria live in a gram of ordinary soil, a mere pinch held between thumb and forefinger. They represent thousands of species, almost none of which are known to science. Into that world I would go with the aid of modern microscopy and molecular analysis. I would cut my way through clonal forests sprawled across grains of sand, travel in an imagined submarine through drops of water proportionately the size of lakes, and track predators and prey in order to discover new life ways and alien food webs. All this, and I need venture no farther than ten paces outside my laboratory building. The jaguars, ants and the orchids would still occupy distant forests in all their splendor, but now they would be joined by an even stranger and vastly more complex living world virtually without end.


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