Microbes and Microbiota: Benefits and Risks

Beneficial Microbes and Environmental Risk Assessment

Microbes provide benefits and risks in forest and human ecosystems. View slide set from SUNY ESF lecture and consider joining Society for Risk Analysis (SRA).

Microbes including fungi are known to benefit as well harm their hosts. Forests, like Homo sapiens, are holobionts or superorganisms, with trees connected by their microbial partners in the soil. My connections with forests include being an alum of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and a member of NY Forest Owners Association (NYFOA).

As a steward of beaver ponds and a 3.5-acre human-built pond in upstate NY, I am intrigued by this article by John Pastor in Northern Woodlands. The author speaks to the complex web of environmental connections that shape forest ecosystems, including ectomycorrhizal fungi that colonize tree roots in forest soils and periodically form fruiting bodies visible in forest environments.

It was not my connections with forests that prompted an invitation to present another lecture in this year's Environmental Risk Assessment course at ESF, rather my experience in microbial ecology and risk assessment. As research using genomic and metagenomic methods is transforming knowledge of human and environmental health, this deeper more holistic knowledge of ecosystems is challenging traditional assumptions and practices of risk assessment. Click on the lecture title below to access the slide set or scroll down for slides of highlights. For benefits of SRA membership and options to join or renew membership, click here

Microbiome and Immunology: Interactions for Risk Assessors from 21st Century Science