About this Research Topic
Microbial Ecotoxicology is an emerging branch of Science at the crossroads between microbial ecology, microbial toxicology, ecotoxicology, physics and chemistry. It addresses an increasing global demand from policy makers and civil society because of the threat to environmental and human health caused by intense anthropogenic activities.
Microbial communities support a wide range of functions in ecosystems and thus play a key role in biogeochemical cycles. Therefore the effects of pollutants on microbial populations can alter ecosystem functions and have profound consequences at higher levels of biological organization. Moreover, and due to their capacities to transform and degrade many pollutants, microbial communities play a key role in the environmental fate of such contaminants and their ecotoxicological impacts in the environment.
In this context, microbial ecotoxicology is facing many challenges and questions including:
- What are the impacts of pollutants on microbial functions and the resulting consequences at different scales, from cellular biochemical pathway to biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem functions?
- In a context of global change, how can we better assess, predict or model the effects of pollutants on microorganisms (at various biological levels) in a context of multiple stresses (e.g. exposure to multi-pollutant mixtures, combined with physical disturbance…)?
- Given the complex array of interactions between micro- or micro-macro-organisms and their environment, what are the indirect effects of pollutants that could arise from modification of consumer-prey balance (top-down) or competition for resources (bottom-up) due to direct toxic pressure against one partner in the frame of community ecology?
- What kind of microbial bioindicators/biomarkers/bioassays should be used or developed to improve environmental risk assessments and the evaluation and the monitoring of environmental quality and ecological health in various ecosystems?
- How can we better evaluate the role of microorganisms in the fate of the pollutants in the ecosystems.
This Research Topic welcomes original results concerning these challenging questions as well as articles addressing the latest trends and perspectives in microbial ecotoxicology.
Keywords: Microbial communities, Pollutants, Environmental risk assessment, Bioindication, Biodegradation
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.