Caister Academic Press

Climate Change and Microbial Ecology: Current Research and Future Trends (Second Edition)

"timely and authoritative ... essential" (Northeastern Naturalist)
"an informative guide ... factual, easy to navigate, and provides us with a clear insight" (Microbiol. Today)
Publisher: Caister Academic Press
Edited by: Jürgen Marxsen
Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany
Pages: xiv +548
Publication date: October 2020
ISBN: 978-1-913652-57-9
Price: GB £199 or US $250Buy book or Buy online
Publication date: October 2020
ISBN: 978-1-913652-58-6
Price: US $399Buy ebook

The distribution and function of microorganisms are of crucial importance for the Earth's biogeochemical cycles. Effects of microbial communities on the carbon and nitrogen cycles are particularly important for climate gases. These biogeochemical cycles are significantly impacted by global climate change and microbes may respond by accelerating or alleviating human-caused change. Understanding microbial ecology in the different ecosystems is essential for our ability to assess the importance of biogeochemical cycles-climate feedbacks.

In the first edition of this acclaimed book, a broad range of renowned scientists reviewed the most important hot-topics in the area of climate change and microbial ecology, thus providing a timely and authoritative overview of this increasingly important area. Climate change is continuing unabated and this new, expanded edition contains revised and updated chapters and the addition of four new chapters covering more of the topical fields in this important area of climate science.

This is an essential book for every microbial ecologist from the PhD student to the experienced scientist and is also recommended for everyone interested in the field of global climate change.


"timely and authoritative ... essential book ... recommended " from Northeastern Naturalist, Issue 27/4, 2020

"An extensive approach to climate change ... Marxsen has structured the book perfectly and engages the audience with fascinating images and conceptual diagrams that support the text concisely. ... this book is heavily descriptive and delivers an informative guide to the relations of climate change in primarily aquatic and soil-based communities of microorganisms. I have found this book to be very factual, easy to navigate, and provides us with a clear insight into immerging bacteria around the world that any level of reader would be able to comprehend." from Microbiol. Today

Table of contents
1. Impacts of Climate Change on Cyanobacteria in Aquatic Environments
Hans W. Paerl
Pages: 1-36.
Cyanobacteria are the Earth's oldest oxygenic phototrophs and they have had major impacts on shaping its biosphere; starting with the formation of an oxic atmosphere. Their long evolutionary history (>2.5 billion years) has enabled them to adapt to geochemical and climatic changes, including numerous cooling and warming periods, volcanism and accompanying atmospheric physical-chemical changes, extreme dry and wet periods, and recent anthropogenic modifications of aquatic environments, including nutrient over-enrichment (eutrophication), chemical pollution, water diversions, withdrawal and salinization. Combined, these modifications have promoted a worldwide proliferation of cyanobacterial blooms that are harmful to ecological and animal (including human) health. In addressing steps needed to stem and reverse this troubling trend, nutrient input reductions are a 'bottom line' necessity, regardless of other physical-chemical-biotic control strategies that are applied. Cyanobacteria exhibit optimal growth rates and bloom potentials at relatively high water temperatures; hence global warming plays a key interactive role in their expansion and persistence. Additional manifestations of climatic change, including increased vertical stratification, salinization, and intensification of storms and droughts and their impacts on nutrient delivery and flushing characteristics of affected water bodies, play synergistic roles in promoting bloom frequency, intensity, geographic distribution and duration. Rising temperatures cause shifts in critical nutrient thresholds at which cyanobacterial blooms can develop; thus nutrient reductions for bloom control may need to be more aggressively pursued in response to climatic changes taking place worldwide. Cyanobacterial bloom control must consider both N and P loading reductions formulated within the context of altered thermal and hydrologic regimes associated with climate change.
2. Climate Change Effects on Planktonic Bacterial Communities in the Ocean: From Structure and Function to Long-term and Large-scale Observations
Ingrid Brettar, Manfred G. Höfle, Carla Pruzzo and Luigi Vezzulli
Pages: 37-70.
Planktonic bacterial communities of marine environments can be considered to be affected by climate change through a set of direct and indirect effects. As direct effects of climate change, elevated temperature and ambient CO2 levels have to be taken into account. As indirect effects a large spectrum of impacts ranging from increased stratification of surface water, deoxygenation of subsurface water, increased occurrence of extreme weather events, and a changed food chain and nutrient regime resulting in a changed top down and bottom up control for bacterioplankton. All these direct and indirect effects will affect bacterial communities in a multifaceted way. Changes of the bacterial communities due to climate change impacts can be expected on all different taxonomic levels, i.e. from the clonal intraspecies level to the phylum level. The focus of the article will be on the evaluation of bacterioplankton observations over time and space and along climate gradients in the frame of environmental parameters allowing modelling with respect to climate change scenarios. A specific emphasis will be on bacterioplankton analysis based on analysis of samples of the Continuous Plankton Recorder Archive. This sample archive allowed insights into particle associated bacteria of coastal environments over more than the last 60 years. Beside effects of climate change effectors on bacterial growth and community composition, effects of climate change on bacteria-mediated marine biogeochemical cycling and potential hazards by increased abundance of pathogenic bacteria such as Vibrio cholerae will be considered.
3. Climate Change, Microbial Communities and Agriculture in Semiarid and Arid Ecosystems
Felipe Bastida, Alfonso Vera, Marta Díaz, Carlos García, Antonio Ruíz-Navarro and José Luis Moreno
Pages: 71-106.
Soil microbial communities perform critical functions for the maintenance of ecosystem services and planet's sustainability. Climate change strongly impacts soil microbial diversity and their ecosystem functions due to changes in the physical and chemical environment in soil. In arid and semiarid ecosystems, which are commonly water and nutrient limited, agricultural activities may enhance the effects of climate change. Thus, the maintenance of agricultural productivity under arid and semiarid climate often requires the application of nutrients in the form of organic amendments and fertilizers, as well as the utilization of alternative water sources for irrigation. In some cases, these practices can be accompanied by contamination of soils with heavy metals and pesticides. Overall, these practices have strong impacts in the composition, biomass and activity of the soil microbial communities. However, the knowledge on the effects of desalinated seawaters and wastewaters in the soil microbial community is still limited. Future studies should focus on the impacts of emerging contaminants in the soil microbial community and its mediated functions.
4. Responses of Aquatic Protozoans to Climate Change
Hartmut Arndt and Mar Monsonís Nomdedeu
Pages: 107-132.
Heterotrophic protists (protozoans) play a key role in marine as well as in freshwater microbial food webs. They influence the abundance and taxonomic composition as well as size structure of bacteria and archaeans and thus regulate nutrient and carbon transfer in aquatic systems. Interactions between the different trophic levels of protists and different metazoan trophic levels are much more complex than generally believed. Laboratory experiments indicated a high capacity of genetic and non-genetic adaptation of heterotrophic protists to local temperature variations. Global warming does not only increase metabolic activity of protists and their impact on other microbes but since sensitivity to temperatures is potentially very different for each protist population unforeseeable impacts of warming have to be expected. Even if only one species in a system is temperature sensitive, the whole community is affected due to a close network of interactions. Warming has also a lot of important indirect effects on protists. Most important are changes in vertical stratifications and mixing processes in freshwater as well as in marine systems with fundamental effects on microbial food webs. Some of the major effects of temperature increases on free-living heterotrophic protist communities will be summarized on the background of complex microbial interactions.
5. Terrestrial Fungi and Global Climate Change
Irina Sidorova and Elena Voronina
Pages: 133-192.
Global change is expected to affect fungi both directly and through associated organisms. Due to ubiquity and many-sided ecosystem roles, fungi can largely contribute to ecosystem resilience under negative impacts, thus their responses to warming, extreme weather events, carbon dioxide and nitrogen-elevated concentrations are essential. Fungal responses to climate change factors are hard to discriminate from non-climatic ones because of retaining gaps in fungal ecology and geography and huge variety across taxa and functional guilds. Here we present a review of recent data on different groups of terrestrial saprotrophic, mycorrhizal and pathogenic fungi perspectives under climate change with discussing possible mechanisms underlying effects observed or predicted.
6. Impact of Climate Change on Aquatic Hyphomycetes
Verónica Ferreira
Pages: 193-214.
Freshwater fungi are important components of heterotrophic food webs in woodland streams. These organisms are pioneer colonizers of submerged litter derived from the terrestrial surroundings, and through their activities, they mineralize litter carbon and nutrients and convert dead organic matter into biomass, establishing the link between basal resources and higher trophic levels. This chapter addresses direct and indirect effects of climate change on the community composition, growth, reproduction, metabolism, and decomposing activity of aquatic hyphomycetes. Evidence so far suggests that future global climate change will affect aquatic hyphomycete activity and community structure, with consequences for the functioning of woodland streams. Several proposals are offered to advance knowledge on the effects of global climate change on these fungi.
7. Aquatic Viruses and Climate Change   Free download
Rui Zhang, Markus G. Weinbauer and Peter Peduzzi
Pages: 215-238.
The viral component in aquatic systems clearly needs to be incorporated into future ocean and inland water climate models. Viruses have the potential to influence carbon and nutrient cycling in aquatic ecosystems significantly. Changing climate likely has both direct and indirect influence on virus-mediated processes, among them an impact on food webs, biogeochemical cycles and on the overall metabolic performance of whole ecosystems. Here we synthesise current knowledge on potential climate-related consequences for viral assemblages, virus-host interactions and virus functions, and in turn, viral processes contributing to climate change. There is a need to increase the accuracy of predictions of climate change impacts on virus-driven processes, particularly of those linked to biological production and biogeochemical cycles. Comprehension of the relationships between microbial/viral processes and global phenomena is essential to predict the influence on as well as the response of the biosphere to global change.
8. Microbes in Aquatic Biofilms under the Effect of Changing Climate
Anna M. Romaní, Stéphanie Boulêtreau, Verónica Díaz Villanueva, Frédéric Garabetian, Jürgen Marxsen, Helge Norf, Elisabeth Pohlon and Markus Weitere
Pages: 239-266.
The effects of climate change on aquatic biofilm structure and function is difficult to predict mainly due to biofilms being complex and dynamic assemblages of microorganisms. We review observed patterns of the effects of warming and desiccation on biofilms. Commonly observed effects of warming on biofilms include changes in the autotrophic community composition and extracellular polymeric substances, stimulation of the heterotrophic community, and changes in the microbes, protozoa and small metazoans densities and composition. The magnitude of the temperature effects depends on the biofilm successional stage, resources availability, community composition and interactions within communities including top-down effects. Temperature also affects biofilm functioning by direct control of biological activities and by selecting adapted taxa, which provide feedback on activities. Biofilm photosynthesis, respiration, denitrification and extracellular enzyme activities show differential sensitivity to temperature. Results suggest a significant effect of temperature on the nitrogen cycling and a link between the specific community composition and the biofilm temperature sensitivity. On the other hand, desiccation may produce more permanent changes on the biofilm microbial community composition than on extracellular enzyme activities, the effects also depending on species specific sensitivity and biofilm structure (such as the content of extracellular polymeric substances). At the ecosystem level, both factors (warming and desiccation) may coincide in time, but few studies have looked at the drought-temperature interactions on aquatic biofilms. Future trends might include multi-stress and short- and long-term experimental approaches. Measurements of carbon and nitrogen budgets are needed to quantify the effects of biofilm metabolism on ecosystem nutrient cycling and, at the same time, to improve biofilm models.
9. Climate Change, Microbes, and Soil Carbon Cycling
Timothy H. Keitt, Colin R. Addis, Daniel L. Mitchell, Andria Salas and Christine V. Hawkes
Pages: 267-296.
Microbial responses to climate change will partly control the balance of soil carbon storage and loss under future temperature and precipitation conditions. We propose four classes of response mechanisms that can allow for a more general understanding of microbial climate responses. We further explore how a subset of these mechanisms results in microbial responses to climate change using simulation modeling. Specifically, we incorporate soil moisture sensitivity into two current enzyme-driven models of soil carbon cycling and find that moisture has large effects on predictions for soil carbon and microbial pools. Empirical efforts to distinguish among response mechanisms will facilitate our ability to further develop models with improved accuracy.
10. Environmental Change and Microbial Contributions to Carbon Cycle Feedbacks
Lei Qin, Hojeong Kang, Chris Freeman, Juanita Mora-Gómez and Ming Jiang
Pages: 297-326.
Microbes in soil play a key role in the global carbon cycle by metabolizing organic matter and releasing over 60 Pg of carbon per year. Since the composition and activities of microbes are strongly influenced by changes in environmental conditions such as temperature, water availability, oxygen penetration, and carbon supply, global climate change may exert climate-microbial feedbacks to accelerate or alleviate GHG emission. In the present study, we review effects of temperature rise, precipitation change, and elevated CO2 on soil microbial composition and process rates. Furthermore, we suggest several topics that should be addressed to better understand microbial feedbacks to the future climate.
11. Climate Change and Nitrogen Turnover in Soils and Aquatic Environments
Gero Benckiser
Pages: 327-390.
Many more than 10,500 soil types link the bio-, geo-, aqua- with the atmosphere. After the invention of technical N2-fixation (TNF) by Haber and Bosch (H-B) the BNF (biological N2-fixation) input was almost doubled and the bio-, geo-, and aquaspheres are now the largest greenhouse gas flux drivers (CO2, CH4, NH3, NO, N2O) on Earth. After introduction of NH4+ by BNF and TNF and its conversion to NO3- by autotrophic nitrifying bacteria and archaea, denitrifying bacteria, archaea, and fungi together with plants as gas conduits return after reduction of the oxidized N species NO3- and NO2- the gaseous N species NO, N2O and N2 to the atmosphere. The almost doubled N-input after H-B invention enables farmers to nearly approach Nature's high productivity, which is based on N shortage and biodiversity, by monocultures, often surpassing plant N demand and soil N buffer capacity. In consequence, increasing amounts of NO3- flow towards the groundwater and CO2, CH4, and N2O emissions enhance the atmospheric temperature. Particularly Western Asian and Northern African regions with characteristic low and unpredictable rainfall, long dry seasons, scarce water resources, rural poverty, high dependence on limited cropping/livestock agriculture, and low levels of technological adaptations have to suffer under greenhouse gas effects. In approaching Nature's productivity achievements and being successful in food security and stabilizing ecosystem functioning, farmers and industry TNF product designers must understand (a) the mechanisms behind the individual genes holding promise of a better N absorption by an adapted germplasm and (b) how pollution costs are reducible. On both aspects scientist are doing concentrated research and on the concerned progress in aquatic and soil ecosystems nitrogen cycling this chapter is focussing.
12. Changes in Precipitation Patterns: Responses and Strategies from Streambed Sediment and Soil Microbes
Giulia Gionchetta, Aline Frossard, Luis Bañeras and Anna Maria Romaní
Pages: 391-420.
Sediments in intermittent watersheds as well as soil systems, especially in arid and semi-arid regions, suffer an increasing pressure of drought events and water scarcity, affecting the ecosystems and the microorganisms inhabiting them. Such microbial communities contribute greatly to global biogeochemical cycles and thus it is crucial to understand their response mechanisms to increasing dryness. Microorganisms show responses to drought at different organizational levels, from the cell (e.g. spores formation, osmolytes production, cell wall thickening) to the whole community (e.g. production of extracellular polymeric substances, community composition changes). At the same time, dryness induces functional modifications such as changes in microbial respiration and organic matter degradation capabilities in both streambed sediments and soils. Water content is a major contributor to the observed responses and is highly associated to the soil/sediment water holding capacity as well as to the water solutes concentration. Knowledge from studies on microbes inhabiting extreme habitats, like deserts and hypersaline arid zones, further stress the importance of minimal water inputs (e.g. fog, dew or light rains) to support the microbial functions. Conservation of habitat heterogeneity, with diverse water holding capacities, might support the microbial resistance and resilience against the intensification of dry-wet extreme episodes, as suggested by recent studies in the field. Moreover, space heterogeneity, including arid and semiarid systems, and tight bacterial networks at highest level will significantly contribute to ecosystem fitness in about-to-come climate scenarios.
13. Groundwater Microbial Communities in Times of Climate Change   Free download
Alice Retter, Clemens Karwautz and Christian Griebler
Pages: 421-450.
Climate change has a massive impact on the global water cycle. Subsurface ecosystems, the earth largest reservoir of liquid freshwater, currently experience a significant increase in temperature and serious consequences from extreme hydrological events. Extended droughts as well as heavy rains and floods have measurable impacts on groundwater quality and availability. In addition, the growing water demand puts increasing pressure on the already vulnerable groundwater ecosystems. Global change induces undesired dynamics in the typically nutrient and energy poor aquifers that are home to a diverse and specialized microbiome and fauna. Current and future changes in subsurface environmental conditions, without doubt, alter the composition of communities, as well as important ecosystem functions, for instance the cycling of elements such as carbon and nitrogen. A key role is played by the microbes. Understanding the interplay of biotic and abiotic drivers in subterranean ecosystems is required to anticipate future effects of climate change on groundwater resources and habitats. This chapter summarizes potential threats to groundwater ecosystems with emphasis on climate change and the microbial world down below our feet in the water saturated subsurface.
14. Ecosystem Metabolism in River Networks and Climate Change
Vicenç Acuña, Anna Freixa, Rafael Marcé and Xisca Timoner
Pages: 451-482.
Primary production and ecosystem respiration are key processes for turnover of organic carbon, inorganic substances, and energy in river networks. Ecosystem respiration is commonly the dominant process because of the fueling by organic carbon from terrestrial origin. In fact, the mineralization of organic carbon within river networks shapes to a large extent the regional and global carbon balances, and will be highly sensitive to change owing to major increases in the extent of the non-flowing periods as well as in flood frequency and magnitude. Existing evidence points out that these alterations in the flow regime might increase organic carbon export rates, whereas temperature alterations will increase mineralization of organic carbon. The specific roles of lotic and lentic water bodies within river networks might also change, as the lakes and reservoirs might increase their roles in the carbon balance and partly counteract the effects of flow extremes on organic carbon export rates.
15. Microbial Communities and Processes under Climate and Land-use Change in the Tropics
Stephen A. Wood, Krista McGuire and Jonathan E. Hickman
Pages: 483-516.
Climate change and land-use change are two of the most important drivers of diversity loss among macrobial taxa. These pressures are especially strong in the tropics, where the effects of climate change may be severe and where economic pressures to convert land to human use are strong. The impact of these two global change drivers on microbial communities, however, is not well studied. Understanding this is important because microorganisms comprise most of the world's biological diversity and play essential roles in the biogeochemical processes that make life possible for higher orders of taxa. In this chapter we review the literature on the impact of these key global change drivers on soil microbial communities and several key microbial mediated biogeochemical processes in the tropics. We find evidence that both climate and land-use change impact the composition and functioning of tropical microbial communities. These two factors may interact, potentially amplifying the consequences of climate change. We propose research priorities for improving understanding of microbial responses to climate- and land-cover change.
16. Geoengineering the Climate via Microorganisms: a Peatland Case Study
Christian Dunn, Nathalie Fenner, Anil Shirsat and Chris Freeman
Pages: 517-548.
Peatlands contain more than double the amount of carbon than is found in the biomass of the world's forests. Such stores are due to the build-up of dead plant material, resulting from restraints on microbial decomposition in the peat-substrate: in particular the inhibitory effects of phenolic compounds create an 'enzymic latch' on the breakdown of organic matter. We propose that this mechanism could be harnessed for a number of peatland-based geoengineering schemes. Such strategies would involve using molecular, agronomical and biogeochemical approaches to manipulate microbial activities in peatlands - maximising their abilities to store and capture carbon. Although like all geoengineering proposals, peatland geoengineering does not offer a 'magic bullet' in reversing the effects of climate change, it potentially has numerous advantages over other suggested schemes. Moreover, recent research indicates that this stored carbon can be made far more resilient to future global warming than had previously been appreciated. Most of the technologies and knowledge are already established, the projects are reversible, and they do not compete with other land uses such as food production. It can therefore be argued that peatland geoengineering offers a realistic 'Plan B' to save the planet from the effects of anthropogenic climate change.

How to buy this book

(EAN: 9781913652579 9781913652586 Subjects: [bacteriology] [environmental microbiology] [microbiology] )