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Fifty important research questions in microbial ecology

Antwis, Rachael E.; Griffiths, Sarah M.; Harrison, Xavier A.; Aranega-Bou, Paz; Arce, Andres; Bettridge, Aimee S.; Brailsford, Francesca L.; de Menezes, Alexandre; Devaynes, Andrew; Forbes, Kristian M.; Fry, Ellen L.; Goodhead, Ian; Haskell, Erin; Heys, Chloe; James, Chloe; Johnston, Sarah R.; Lewis, Gillian R.; Lewis, Zenobia; Macey, Michael C.; McCarthy, Alan; McDonald, James E.; Mejia-Florez, Nasmille L.; O’Brien, David; Orland, Chloé; Pautasso, Marco; Reid, William D. K.; Robinson, Heather A.; Wilson, Kenneth and Sutherland, William J. (2017). Fifty important research questions in microbial ecology. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93(5), article no. fix044.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fix044
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Abstract

Microbial ecology provides insights into the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of microbial communities underpinning every ecosystem on Earth. Microbial communities can now be investigated in unprecedented detail, although there is still a wealth of open questions to be tackled. Here we identify 50 research questions of fundamental importance to the science or application of microbial ecology, with the intention of summarising the field and bringing focus to new research avenues. Questions are categorised into seven themes: host–microbiome interactions; health and infectious diseases; human health and food security; microbial ecology in a changing world; environmental processes; functional diversity; and evolutionary processes. Many questions recognise that microbes provide an extraordinary array of functional diversity that can be harnessed to solve real-world problems. Our limited knowledge of spatial and temporal variation in microbial diversity and function is also reflected, as is the need to integrate micro- and macro-ecological concepts, and knowledge derived from studies with humans and other diverse organisms. Although not exhaustive, the questions presented are intended to stimulate discussion and provide focus for researchers, funders and policy makers, informing the future research agenda in microbial ecology.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 FEMS
ISSN: 1574-6941
Keywords: environmental processes; evolutionary processes; functional diversity; host–microbiome interactions; priority setting; research agenda
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
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Item ID: 58584
Depositing User: Michael Macey
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2019 11:45
Last Modified: 03 May 2019 15:34
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/58584
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