Microbial structuring of marine ecosystems

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2007 Oct;5(10):782-91. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1747.


Despite the impressive advances that have been made in assessing the diversity of marine microorganisms, the mechanisms that underlie the participation of microorganisms in marine food webs and biogeochemical cycles are poorly understood. Here, we stress the need to examine the biochemical interactions of microorganisms with ocean systems at the nanometre to millimetre scale--a scale that is relevant to microbial activities. The local impact of microorganisms on biogeochemical cycles must then be scaled up to make useful predictions of how marine ecosystems in the whole ocean might respond to global change. This approach to microbial oceanography is not only helpful, but is in fact indispensable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Food Chain
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Seawater / microbiology*
  • Water Microbiology*