TMC News

The Role of Microbes in Mediating Methane Emissions

Report on an American Academy of Microbiology (Academy) and The American Geophysical Union (AGU), Colloquium held on May 31 & June 1, 2023.

Climate change is altering the planet and threatens humanity. Earth system models simulate the planet’s physical, chemical and biological processes to help scientists understand current environmental changes and make projections for Earth’s future, which can inform society's responses to combat and mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

Climate change will fundamentally change life on Earth, including microorganisms. Microbes will also influence climate change by driving biogeochemical cycles through the consumption and production of greenhouse gasses. Thus, explicitly including microbial processes into Earth system models can improve model projections. However, fully understanding the feedbacks between climate change and microbes, and then including those processes into Earth systems models, is a major challenge.   

This report is based on the deliberations of experts who participated in a virtual colloquium on Dec. 6 and 8, 2022, organized by the American Academy of Microbiology, which is the honorific leadership group and think tank within the American Society for Microbiology. At the colloquium, experts from the climate sciences and microbial sciences attempted to clearly articulate current knowledge gaps of the fields. As a result, the participants compiled a list of top 10 challenges to better incorporate microbial processes into Earth system models. Solving these challenges requires new thinking and approaches. Transdisciplinary efforts have the potential to propel science—and society—toward combating climate change. 

The new report highlights strategies to mitigate methane emissions by leveraging microbes. Our very own Dr. Zoe Cardon participated in the colloquium on which the report is based. 

Read the report HERE

Read MBL's news article on it HERE