Royal Society Publishing


The paper reviews the fundamental ways in which microbes and microbial communities differ between terrestrial and aquatic habitats. It concludes that the fundamental principles and problems of microbial ecology on land and sea are similar. These include the basis in microbial physiology, the diversity in microbial metabolism and the fact that microbes perform key roles in element cycling within the biosphere and in carbon cycling in almost all ecosystems. Finally, the paper proposes that one of the major future roles of microbial ecology will be to achieve a more profound understanding of microbial diversity in nature.