Streams of data from drops of water: 21st century molecular microbial ecology

Clark, Dave R., Ferguson, Robert M. W., Harris, Danielle N., Matthews Nicholass, Kirsty J., Prentice, Hannah J., Randall, Kate, Randell, Luli, Warren, Scott L. and Dumbrell, Alex J. (2018) Streams of data from drops of water: 21st century molecular microbial ecology. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 5 (4). e1280. ISSN 2049-1948

WIREs Water - 2018 - Clark - Streams of data from drops of water 21st century molecular microbial ecology.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL:


Microorganisms are ubiquitous and represent a taxonomically and functionally diverse component of freshwater environments of significant ecological importance. The bacteria, archaea, and microbial eukarya in freshwater systems support a range of ecosystem processes and functions, including mediating all major biogeochemical cycles, and therefore regulate the flow of multiple ecosystem services. Yet relative to conspicuous higher taxa, microbial ecology remains poorly understood. As the anthropocene progresses, the demand for freshwater– ecosystem services is both increasing with growing human population density, and by association, increasingly threatened from multiple and often interacting stressors, such as climate change, eutrophication, and chemical pollution. Thus, it is imperative to understand the ecology of microorganisms and their functional role in freshwater ecosystems if we are to manage the future of these environments effectively. To do this, researchers have developed a vast array of molecular tools that can illuminate the diversity, composition, and activity of microbial communities. Within this primer, we discuss the history of molecular approaches in microbial ecology, and highlight the scope of questions that these methods enable researchers to address. Using some recent case studies, we describe some exemplar research into the microbial ecology of freshwater systems, and emphasize how molecular methods can provide novel ecological insights. Finally, we detail some promising developments within this research field, and how these might shape the future research landscape of freshwater microbial ecology. This article is categorized under: Water and Life > Methods Water and Life > Nature of Freshwater Ecosystems.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: We are grateful to various funding sources. This work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) via the following grants and studentships: “Impacts of global warming in sentinel systems: from genes to ecosystems” (NE/M02086X/1 – AJD, DH, HJP, KCR); “Rapid monitoring of bioaerosols in Urban, Agricultural and Industrial Environments” (NE/M010813/1 – AJD, RMWF); quota award studentships (471757 – DC; W86713B – SLW); EnvEast DTP studentship (E15EE – LR). Research was also support by a PhD studentship provided from the University of Essex, School of Biological Sciences (KJMN).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Archaea, Bacteria, Eukarya, Metagenetics, Metagenomics, Next-generation sequencing, Omics methods
Subjects: C100 Biology
F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2022 14:56
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2022 15:00

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics