NSF Center for Microbial Ecology
The intellectual focus of the Center for Microbial Ecology is to understand factors that influence the competitiveness, diversity and
function of microorganisms in their natural and managed habitats. This knowledge is important because microorganisms have major roles
in determining global warming, ground water quality, plant and animal health, and organic matter cycling. Further, microorganisms are
important to the biotechnology industry and include organisms developed to degrade hazardous chemicals, for the production of
pharmaceuticals and for biocatalysis. To ensure a sustainable biosphere and to exploit these microbial processes for economic gain,
we must develop a comprehensive understanding of microbial diversity, microbial processes and microbial interactions.