Priorities, opportunities, and challenges for integrating microorganisms into Earth system models for climate change prediction

J. T. Lennon, R. Z. Abramoff, S. D. Allison, R. M. Burckhardt, K. M. DeAngelis, J. P. Dunne, S. D. Frey, P. Friedlingstein, C. V. Hawkes, B. A. Hungate, S. Khurana, S. N. Kivlin, N. M. Levine, S. Manzoni, A. C. Martiny, J. B.H. Martiny, N. K. Nguyen, M. Rawat, D. Talmy, K. Todd-BrownM. Vogt, W. R. Wieder, E. J. Zakem

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Climate change jeopardizes human health, global biodiversity, and sustainability of the biosphere. To make reliable predictions about climate change, scientists use Earth system models (ESMs) that integrate physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring on land, the oceans, and the atmosphere. Although critical for catalyzing coupled biogeochemical processes, microorganisms have traditionally been left out of ESMs. Here, we generate a “top 10” list of priorities, opportunities, and challenges for the explicit integration of microorganisms into ESMs. We discuss the need for coarse-graining microbial information into functionally relevant categories, as well as the capacity for microorganisms to rapidly evolve in response to climate-change drivers. Microbiologists are uniquely positioned to collect novel and valuable information necessary for next-generation ESMs, but this requires data harmonization and transdisciplinary collaboration to effectively guide adaptation strategies and mitigation policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalmBio
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

Keywords

  • biogeochemistry
  • climate change
  • modeling
  • traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology

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