Microbial Activity in Subterranean Ecosystems: Recent Advances
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Author/sMartin Pozas, Tamara; Gonzalez Pimentel, Jose Luis; Jurado, Valme; Cuezva, Soledad; Dominguez Moñino, Irene; [et al.]
Of the several critical challenges present in environmental microbiology today, one is the assessment of the contribution of microorganisms in the carbon cycle in the Earth-climate system. Karstic subterranean ecosystems have been overlooked until recently. Covering up to 25% of the land surface and acting as a rapid CH4 sink and alternately as a CO2 source or sink, karstic subterranean ecosystems play a decisive role in the carbon cycle in terms of their contribution to the global balance of greenhouse gases. Recent data indicate that microbiota must play a significant ecological role in the biogeochemical processes that control the composition of the subterranean atmosphere, as well as in the availability of nutrients for the ecosystem. Nevertheless, there are still essential gaps in our knowledge concerning the budgets of greenhouse gases at the ecosystem scale and the possible feedback mechanisms between environmental-microclimatic conditions and the rates and type of activity of m...