Microbial Communities as Ecological Indicators of Ecosystem Recovery Following Chemical Pollution

  • Stéphane PesceEmail author
  • Jean-François Ghiglione
  • Fabrice Martin-Laurent


‘Ecosystem recovery’ is a concept that emerged from the need to preserve our environment against increasing contamination from human activity. However, ecological indicators of ecosystem recovery remain scarce, and it is still difficult to assess recovery of ecological processes at relevant spatial and temporal scales. Microbial communities hold key relevance as indicators of ecosystem recovery as they are ubiquitous among diverse ecosystems, respond rapidly to environmental changes, and support many ecosystem functions and services through taxonomic and functional biodiversity. This chapter summarizes the state-of-the-art in knowledge on the processes driving the structural and functional recovery of phototroph and heterotroph microorganisms following chemical pollution. It covers several successful case studies providing proof of principle for the relevance of using microorganisms in recovery studies in various ecosystems such as soil, freshwater and seawater. Questions remain for microbial ecotoxicologists to fully understand and predict how structural and functional recovery observed at microbial scale can reflect the recovery of an ecosystem. Moreover, new standards and norms taking into account recent advances in microbial ecotoxicology are now necessary in order to inform legislators and policymakers on the importance of considering microorganisms in environmental risk assessment, including ecological recovery monitoring.


Microbial ecotoxicology Microbial recovery Biomonitoring Environmental risk assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stéphane Pesce
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-François Ghiglione
    • 2
  • Fabrice Martin-Laurent
    • 3
  1. 1.Irstea, UR MALY, Centre de Lyon-VilleurbanneVilleurbanne CedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Océanographie Microbienne, Observatoire OcéanologiqueSorbonne Universités, CNRS, UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7621Banyuls-sur-MerFrance
  3. 3.Agroécologie, AgroSup Dijon, INRAUniversité de Bourgogne Franche-ComtéDijonFrance

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