Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education
Our planet is changing rapidly, and responding to the ensuing environmental challenges will require an informed citizenry that can understand the inherent complexity of ecological systems. However, microorganisms are usually neglected in the narratives that we use to understand nature. Here, we advocate for the inclusion of microbial ecology across education levels and delineate the often neglected benefits of incorporating microbes into ecology curricula. We provide examples across education levels, from secondary school (by considering one's self as a microbial ecosystem), to higher education (by incorporating our knowledge of the global ecological role and medical application of microbes), to the general public (by engagement through citizen-science projects). The greater inclusion of microbes in ecological education and outreach will not only help us appreciate the natural world we are part of, but will ultimately aid in building a citizenry better prepared to make informed decisions on health and environmental policies.
Barberán, Albert; Hammer, Tobin J; Madden, Anne A; and Fierer, Noah, "Microbes Should Be Central to Ecological Education and Outreach." (2016). Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Faculty Contributions. 17.