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Advancing the case for microbial conservation

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-526
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


The majority of the biomass and biodiversity of life on the Earth is accounted for by microbes. They play pivotal roles in biogeochemical cycles and harbour novel metabolites that have industrial uses. For these reasons the conservation of microbial ecosystems, communities and even specific taxa should be a high priority. We review the reasons for including microorganisms in conservation agenda. We discuss some of the complications in this endeavour, including the unresolved argument about whether microorganisms have intrinsic value, which influences some of the non-instrumental motivations for their conservation and, from a more pragmatic perspective, exactly what it is that we seek to conserve (microorganisms, their habitats or their gene pools). Despite complications, priorities can be defined for microbial conservation and we provide practical examples of such priorities.

    Research areas

  • Biodiversity, biosphere, corals, ex situ conservation, microbial conservation, microorganisms, NIAGARA-ESCARPMENT, COMMUNITIES, DIVERSITY, MICROORGANISMS, OCEAN, VEGETATION, ONTARIO, CANADA, LAKE

ID: 1497847