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Engines of the Earth

Earth is home to around 1 trillion microbial species and the majority of this diversity remains to be characterized. Only one gram of soil has the potential to harbor over 10 billion microbial cells, representing thousands of species. Interdependent constituents of these communities regulate virtually every biogeochemical cycle on earth. At the system level, microbial metabolism regulates ecosystem functionality and modulates resilience to environmental change. In this light, an intact and functional microbiome is key for ecosystem health and the functioning of our planet.

Microbiome Research

The multidisciplinary field of microbiome research at the interface of microbiology, molecular biology, ecology, and computer science offers an unprecedented view on microbial life on our planet. The advent of new molecular technologies has completely revolutionized our understanding microbial life and we are just at the beginning of a long history of new discoveries.
Credit: Alice Dohnalkova, Pacific Northwest National Laboratoryx