Mainstreaming microbes across biomes

Laurence J. Clarke, Penelope J. Jones, Hans Ammitzboll, Leon Barmuta, Martin F. Breed, Anthony Chariton, Michael Charleston, Vongai Dakwa, Fera Dewi, Rajaraman Eri, Nicholas M. Fountain-Jones, Jules Freeman, Dave Kendal, Rebecca McDougal, Eric J. Raes, Swan Li San Sow, Timothy Staples, Brodie Sutcliffe, Ravichandra Vemuri, Laura S. WeyrichEmily J. Flies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms in the environment (i.e. “environmental microbiomes”) provide vital ecosystem services and impact on human health. Despite their importance, public awareness of environmental microbiomes has lagged behind that of human microbiomes. A key problem has been a scarcity of research demonstrating the microbial connections across environmental biomes (e.g. marine, soil) and between environmental and human microbiomes. We show here through analyses of almost 10,000 microbiome papers and three global datasets, that there are significant taxonomic similarities in microbial communities across biomes, yet very little cross-biome research. This disconnect may be hindering advances in microbiome knowledge and translation. In this review, we highlight current and potential applications of environmental microbiome research, and the benefits of an interdisciplinary, cross-biome approach. Microbiome scientists need to engage with each other, government, industry and the public to ensure research and applications proceed ethically, maximizing the potential benefits to society.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbiaa057
Pages (from-to)589-596
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Early online date17 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • microbiology
  • environmental science
  • human ecology
  • aquatic ecosystems
  • soil science
  • Environmental science
  • Microbiology
  • Soil science
  • Human ecology
  • Aquatic ecosystems


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