Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Sustainability bugs

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-07-17

No, I’m not talking about any failures in the KRuddy carbon plan green paper, but new papers available gratis from the Nature publishing group (for a short time) on "bugs" (microbes) and the environment via advance online publication.  It’s fairly heavy going because I did industrial micro (including sewerage processing and using bugs for synthesizing compounds) in 1982, but I’ll try to highlight the important sentence or two from the papers.

Even if you have no microbiology background, the message from these two papers is important.  Politicians should read these too, because it’s a matter of funding, and then listening to the recommendations when the results come in.

  • doi:10.1038/ismej.2008.61 "Microbes orchestrate life on Earth" calls itself "commentary".

    In the past decade, global climate change has come to the forefront of the political and social agenda owing to the growing realization that the Earth’s resources are being used in an unsustainable fashion.  There is an urgent need for changes in policy and human behaviour to tackle this problem, as well as a global initiative to develop a better understanding of global change processes and potential remedies for the future.  ….  Microbial ecology lies at the heart of any discussion on sustainability.  Indeed, from the natural environment to engineered systems, we rely on microorganisms to keep the globe turning and to sustainably maintain it, through the essential involvement of microorganisms in all biogeochemical and elemental cycles of the planet.

  • doi: 10.1038/ismej.2008.58 "Microbial contributions to climate change through carbon cycle feedbacks" calls itself a "mini-review"

    There is considerable interest in understanding the biological mechanisms that regulate carbon exchanges between the land and atmosphere, and how these exchanges respond to climate change.  An understanding of soil microbial ecology is central to our ability to assess terrestrial carbon cycle–climate feedbacks.  …  Overall, we emphasize the urgent need for greater understanding of how soil microbial ecology contributes to land–atmosphere carbon exchange in the context of climate change, and identify some challenges for the future. In particular, we highlight the need for a multifactor experimental approach to understand how soil microbes and their activities respond to climate change and consequences for carbon cycle feedbacks.

ISME Journal is affiliated with part of the Nature publishing group, with the (The International Society for Microbial Ecology) having some "joint ventures" with Nature, including the sustainability focus page on the Nature website here.


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