Microbial diversity - exploration of natural ecosystems and microbiomes
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Microorganisms are the pillars of life on Earth. Over billions of years, they have evolved into every conceivable niche on the planet. Microbes reshaped the oceans and atmosphere and gave rise to conditions conducive to multicellular organisms. Only in the past decade have we started to peer deeply into the microbial cosmos, and what we have found is amazing. Microbial ecosystems behave, in many ways, like large-scale ecosystems, although there are important exceptions. We review recent advances in our understanding of how microbial diversity is distributed across environments, how microbes influence the ecosystems in which they live, and how these nano-machines might be harnessed to advance our understanding of the natural world.
© The Author(s), 2015. This is the author's version of the work and is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 35 (2015): 66-72, doi:10.1016/j.gde.2015.10.003.
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