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Chapter 44 : Whose Planet Is It Anyway?
This is the title my friend Fred Neidhardt recently used for a talk, and a good question it is. I suppose that most microbiologists and the readers of this blog would split the answer down the middle, the biomass of this planet and the chemical transactions therein being about half microbial, half everything else. However, it’s safe to say that most people, many scientists included, are unaware of the colossal importance of the microbial half, not only in biology and medicine but in geology, meteorology, and in our Earth’s habitability. This state of affairs should not be unexpected, given that we have only became aware of much of this during the last few decades. I lived roughly the first half of my life carrying only a vague notion of the global importance of the microbial world. But now we know, and the word needs to go out. A measure of microbial literacy is required for anyone to understand the workings of our living planet.