Climate change will fundamentally change life on Earth, including microorganisms. Microbes will also influence climate change by driving biogeochemical cycles through the consumption and production of greenhouse gasses. Thus, explicitly including microbial processes into Earth system models can improve model projections. However, fully understanding the feedbacks between climate change and microbes, and then including those processes into Earth systems models, is a major challenge.
This report is based on the deliberations of experts who participated in a virtual colloquium on Dec. 6 and 8, 2022, organized by the American Academy of Microbiology, which is the honorific leadership group and think tank within the American Society for Microbiology. At the colloquium, experts from the climate sciences and microbial sciences attempted to clearly articulate current knowledge gaps of the fields. As a result, the participants compiled a list of top 10 challenges to better incorporate microbial processes into Earth system models. Solving these challenges requires new thinking and approaches. Transdisciplinary efforts have the potential to propel science—and society—toward combating climate change.
Microbes in Models: Integrating Microbes into Earth System Models for Understanding Climate Change: Report on an American Academy of Microbiology Virtual Colloquium held on Dec. 6 and 8, 2022. Washington (DC): American Society for Microbiology; 2023.
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