Climate change and Microbial interaction (pp. 469-484)
Authors: (Nermeen A. El-Sersy and Gehan M. Abou-Elela)
Abstract: Microbes run the world. It's that simple. Although we can't usually see them, microbes are essential for every part of human life. Indeed all life on earth. Every process in the biosphere is touched by the seemingly endless capacity of microbes to transform the world around them. The chemical cycles that convert the key elements of life carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur into biological accessible forms are largely directed by and dependent on microbes. Microbial role in global change include: Producing and consuming atmospheric gasses that affect climate, mobilizing toxic elements such as mercury, arsenic and selenium and producing toxic algal blooms and creating oxygen depletion zone in lakes, rivers and coastal environment (eutrophication). Furthermore, the incidence of microbial diseases such as plague, cholera, west Nile viruses and fish pathogenesis in addition to coral reef diseases and fouling phenomena, linked to global change.
Soil microbes produce and consume methane. The thawing of permafrost in the Arctic creates low-oxygen (anaerobic) and water-logged soil conditions in which microorganisms that produce methane dominate. Moreover, methane released into the atmosphere from under-sea volcanoes contributes to abrupt climate change. This is because methane is a more effective Green House Gas (GHG) than Carbon Dioxide. So the higher incidence of methane release into the atmosphere, the closer we are too big global trouble.
Metagenomics is a powerful genomic analysis applied to entire communities of microbes, by passing the need to isolate and culture individual's bacterial community members. It can be used for monitoring environmental damage at all levels (from climate change to leaking gas storage tanks) and microbe-based methods for restoring healthy ecosystems. This chapter represents how microbial interactions and activities can affects and altered climate. Ways of damage monitoring will be displayed as well.