Fifty important research questions in microbial ecology

Antwis, Rachael E. and Griffiths, Sarah M. and Harrison, Xavier A. and Aranega-Bou, Paz and Arce, Andres and Bettridge, Aimee S. and Brailsford, Francesca L. and de Menezes, Alexandre and Devaynes, Andrew and Forbes, Kristian M. and Fry, Ellen L. and Goodhead, Ian and Haskell, Erin and Heys, Chloe and James, Chloe and Johnston, Sarah R. and Lewis, Gillian R. and Lewis, Zenobia and Macey, Michael C. and McCarthy, Alan and McDonald, James E. and Mejia-Florez, Nasmille L. and O'Brien, David and Orland, Chloé and Pautasso, Marco and Reid, William D.K. and Robinson, Heather A. and Wilson, Kenneth and Sutherland, William J. (2017) Fifty important research questions in microbial ecology. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93 (5): fix044. ISSN 0168-6496

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Microbial ecology provides insights into the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of microbial communities underpinning every ecosystem on Earth. Microbial communities can now be investigated in unprecedented detail, although there is still a wealth of open questions to be tackled. Here we identify 50 research questions of fundamental importance to the science or application of microbial ecology, with the intention of summarising the field and bringing focus to new research avenues. Questions are categorised into seven themes: host-microbiome interactions; health and infectious diseases; human health and food security; microbial ecology in a changing world; environmental processes; functional diversity; and evolutionary processes. Many questions recognise that microbes provide an extraordinary array of functional diversity that can be harnessed to solve real-world problems. Our limited knowledge of spatial and temporal variation in microbial diversity and function is also reflected, as is the need to integrate micro- and macro-ecological concepts, and knowledge derived from studies with humans and other diverse organisms. Although not exhaustive, the questions presented are intended to stimulate discussion and provide focus for researchers, funders and policy makers, informing the future research agenda in microbial ecology.

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Journal Article
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FEMS Microbiology Ecology
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This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in FEMS Microbiology Ecology following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Rachael E. Antwis, Sarah M. Griffiths, Xavier A. Harrison, Paz Aranega-Bou, Andres Arce, Aimee S. Bettridge, Francesca L. Brailsford, Alexandre de Menezes, Andrew Devaynes, Kristian M. Forbes, Ellen L. Fry, Ian Goodhead, Erin Haskell, Chloe Heys, Chloe James, Sarah R. Johnston, Gillian R. Lewis, Zenobia Lewis, Michael C. Macey, Alan McCarthy, James E. McDonald, Nasmille L. Mejia-Florez, David O’Brien, Chloé Orland, Marco Pautasso, William D. K. Reid, Heather A. Robinson, Kenneth Wilson, William J. Sutherland; Fifty important research questions in microbial ecology, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Volume 93, Issue 5, 1 May 2017, fix044, is available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? environmental processesevolutionary processesfunctional diversityhost-microbiome interactionspriority settingresearch agendamicrobiologyecologyapplied microbiology and biotechnology ??
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26 Nov 2018 09:58
Last Modified:
11 Mar 2024 00:28