Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2016

Publication Title

Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

ISSN

1935-7877

Volume

17

Issue

1

First Page

23

Last Page

28

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.984

PubMed ID

27047584

Abstract

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.

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