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(Don’t) look up – there are microbes in the sky!

New “vertical map” of airborne microorganisms indicates how global warming will impact global ecosystems
  • In the Media
  • 08 Feb 2022
SCELSE scientists at NTU have found that bacteria and fungi populate the planet’s lower atmosphere in very specific ways and if changed, may negatively impact human health and food supply.

Using a combination of a 200-metre meteorological tower and a research aircraft that circled at different heights from ground level to 3,500m to gather the necessary measurements, the researchers found that temperature was the single most important factor influencing the composition of airborne microbial communities.

As the temperature of the air changes, the species found and the ratio of bacteria to fungi change significantly. These findings suggest that the currently observed increase in global temperature will have an impact on the atmospheric microbial ecosystem, as well as planetary terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

The study “Vertical stratification of the air microbiome in the lower troposhere” was published today in PNAS by a team of interdisciplinary scientists led by SCELSE Research Director (Meta-‘omics & Microbiomes) Stephan Schuster.

Watch SCELSE’s video – “(Don’t) look up – there are microbes in the sky!”, or read news release and media stories for more.

See also SCELSE YouTube video and news release