, Volume 109, Issue 1-3, pp 1-6
Date: 24 Sep 2011

The role of environmental microorganisms in ecosystem responses to global change: current state of research and future outlooks

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The effects of human activities have dramatically altered our natural environment. Greenhouse gas production, nutrient loading, land-use change and water consumption, to name a few, can dramatically affect ecosystem processes by changing the dynamics of global biogeochemical cycles. Currently, one of the most crucial scientific objectives is to gain an understanding of how drastically anthropogenic changes have altered our planet and what those changes mean for the future.

In order to predict accurate scenarios of how global change will affect terrestrial ecosystems, the effects and controls over biogeochemical pools and fluxes, as incorporated into predictive global change models, must be carefully examined. This is not only necessary to guide scientific endeavor, but also to inform policymakers and to serve as a basis for advocacy of social change. By examining and understanding the dynamics of carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrient transformations scientists can take the pulse of an ec ...