Microbes and Climate Change 2010

03 Nov - House of Lords, London

The Society for General Microbiology organised an event that explored the role of micro-organisms in climate change.

climate change


Climate change is a hot topic. Global warming is a big concern. Greenhouse gases are in the news. But what role do microbes play in this global challenge?
Microbes are involved in many processes, including the carbon and nitrogen cycles, and are responsible for both using and producing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Microbes can have positive and negative responses to temperature, making them an important component of climate change models.

However, microbes live in diverse communities that interact with other organisms and the environment, making their impact difficult to predict. What is certain is that human activities have helped to increase the production of greenhouse gases by microbes.

While humankind has only relatively recently started to alter the composition of the atmosphere and the energy balance of the planet, micro-organisms have been dictating global climate for billions of years. Microbes play an important role as both users and producers of greenhouse gases. Both natural and human-induced fluxes of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are dominated by microbiology.

The role of microbes in climate change cannot be ignored.

For more information, download the event programme or view our briefing document below.

Microbes and Climate Change programme Microbes and Climate Change briefing document