The scaling up of processes in the plant-soil-microbe system represents one of the greatest challenges facing environmental scientists and yet is essential for sustainable land management worldwide. The latter encompasses, for example, the mitigation of and adaptation to anthropogenic climate change, the bioremediation of industrially contaminated sites, catchment management of human pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157 and integrated crop management on the farm. Scaling up is also essential for the regional and global biogeochemical modelling that will inform policy-makers of the critical environmental factors driving climate change. Despite increasing understanding of the links between gene expression and process on a microscale, there is still much progress to be made when relating this to processes at the macroscale. In this paper, we explore the challenges this poses and examine key case studies of successful up-scaling.
- Microbial diversity