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Review article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Microbial regulation of feedbacks to ecosystem change

Sveen, T. Ranheim; Hannula, S. E.; Bahram, M.


Microbes are key biodiversity components of all ecosystems and control vital ecosystem functions. Although we have just begun to unravel the scales and factors that regulate microbial communities, their role in mediating ecosystem stability in response to disturbances remains underexplored. Here, we review evidence of how, when, and where microbes regulate or drive disturbance feedbacks. Negative feedbacks dampen the impacts of disturbance, which maintain ecosystem stability, whereas positive feedbacks instead erode stability by amplifying the disturbance. Here we describe the processes underlying the responses to disturbance using a hierarchy of functional traits, and we exemplify how these may drive biogeochemical feedbacks. We suggest that the feedback potential of functional traits at different hierarchical levels is contingent on the complexity and heterogeneity of the environment.


disturbance response; microbial diversity; stable states; climate change

Published in

Trends in Microbiology
2024, Volume: 32, number: 1, pages: 68-78 Publisher: CELL PRESS

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