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Scientists' warning to humanity: microorganisms and climate change


Cavicchioli, R and Ripple, WJ and Timmis, KN and Azam, F and Bakken, LR and Baylis, M and Behrenfeld, MJ and Boetius, A and Boyd, PW and Classen, AT and Crowther, TW and Danovaro, R and Foreman, CM and Huisman, J and Hutchins, DA and Jansson, JK and Karl, DM and Koskella, B and Mark Welch, DB and Martiny, JBH and Moran, MA and Orphan, VJ and Reay, DS and Remais, JV and Rich, VI and Singh, BK and Stein, LY and Stewart, FJ and Sullivan, MB and van Oppen, MJH and Weaver, SC and Webb, EA and Webster, NS, Scientists' warning to humanity: microorganisms and climate change, Nature Reviews Microbiology, 17, (9) pp. 569-586. ISSN 1740-1526 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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© 2019. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0222-5


In the Anthropocene, in which we now live, climate change is impacting most life on Earth. Microorganisms support the existence of all higher trophic life forms. To understand how humans and other life forms on Earth (including those we are yet to discover) can withstand anthropogenic climate change, it is vital to incorporate knowledge of the microbial ‘unseen majority’. We must learn not just how microorganisms affect climate change (including production and consumption of greenhouse gases) but also how they will be affected by climate change and other human activities. This Consensus Statement documents the central role and global importance of microorganisms in climate change biology. It also puts humanity on notice that the impact of climate change will depend heavily on responses of microorganisms, which are essential for achieving an environmentally sustainable future.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:microbes, climate change, threat to humanity
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Microbiology
Research Field:Microbial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Ecosystem adaptation to climate change
UTAS Author:Boyd, PW (Professor Philip Boyd)
ID Code:150310
Year Published:2019
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FL160100131)
Web of Science® Times Cited:621
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-06-07
Last Modified:2022-07-21
Downloads:6 View Download Statistics

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