Planet of the microorganisms - Focus on microbial biogeochemistry

In this Focus on Microbial Biogeochemistry, Nature Reviews Microbiology highlights the metabolic versatility in microbial communities and the significance of microbial contributions to the flow of elements in Earth’s biogeochemical cycles

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Microbial metabolic activity lies at the heart of the myriad of interactions between the environment and microorganisms that shape the dynamics of ecosystems. Earth is a closed system with a finite amount of matter that cycles between the lithosphere (the outer shell of the Earth), atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, and microbial metabolism drives biogeochemical cycling between these spheres. This Nature Reviews Microbiology Focus on microbial biogeochemistry explores microbial metabolism in the context of wider ecosystems. It comprises Reviews that discuss the microbial nitrogen cycling network, the role that bacterial microcompartments have in atmospheric carbon fixation, the symbiotic exchange of nitrogen and carbon compounds between rhizobia and legumes and the function of hopanoid lipids, which are markers of ancient microbial life in sediments and as membrane components, mediate interactions between nitrogen-fixing bacteria and plants. It also features Research Highlights that showcase the latest research into the relationship between microbial metabolism and the environment.

Access the Focus here and an accompanying Editorial on the Planet of the microorganisms

Ashley York

Senior Editor, Nature Reviews Microbiology

Ashley studied at University College London, UK, gaining a first class degree in Biological Sciences before earning his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford, UK. During his doctoral studies, he investigated the molecular mechanisms of influenza virus RNA synthesis with Professor Ervin Fodor at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. He then joined the Laboratory of Retrovirology at The Rockefeller University, USA, as a Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr Paul Bieniasz. During this time, his research focussed on understanding intrinsic immune proteins that restrict HIV infection. Ashley joined the Nature Reviews Microbiology editorial team in 2016 as an Associate Editor. Ashley is based in the London office.