U.S. Geological Survey - Microbiology
Microbial Ecology Research Activities
Microbial ecology is the study of interactions between microorganisms and their environments. All of the major biogeochemical cycles (for example, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur) are influenced by microbes. Microbes are key players in primary production (both photosynthetic and chemosynthetic) and decomposition. Microbes often engage in symbiotic relationships (either positive or negative) with other organisms, and these relationships affect the ecosystem. They are present in virtually all of our planet's environments, including some of the most extreme, from acidic lakes to the deepest ocean, and from frozen environments to hydrothermal vents. Because of this broad scope, microbial ecology studies will often overlap other research areas in the USGS, including climate change, geographic patterns, ecosystem function, geomicrobiology, and wildlife disease. Microbial ecology studies entail the use of conventional microbiological techniques (cultures, microscopy) and modern molecular techniques (polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization, analysis, sequencing, microarrays).
Related Links and References
*this list of USGS scientists involved in microbial ecology is likely to be incomplete