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  • Writer's pictureEnid Gonzalez-Orta

The Importance of Microbial Diversity by Josue R.

Microbial diversity is an important field in biology that scientists in the past, present, and future, have studied, need to study, and will continue to study. Microbial diversity can be defined as the range of different kinds of unicellular organisms, bacteria, archaea, protists, and fungi. Various microbes thrive throughout the biosphere, defining the limits of life and creating conditions conducive to the survival and evolution of other living beings (Levin, 2013.) Although this definition sounds very scientific let us break it down into parts to see what microbial diversity really is. Microbes are microorganisms or tiny little living things that the eye cannot see but have very specific functions and structures. They are everywhere and they make up over 60%of the earth’s living matter. In nature the number of unicellular organisms starts in the thousands, according to a report that was released in 2012 from the University of Potsdam in German, it was stated that the ocean is home to an estimated 2.9×10^29 unicellular organisms (about 20,000 species) (Walsh, 2019) and that is only in the ocean imagine how much more are out there and the ones that haven't even been discovered yet. Since they make up a lot of the earth’s living matter and have specific functions and structures they are of the utmost importance.

Microbial diversity is the key to human survival moving forward and economic security as it provides a vast variety and reservoir of resources, which can be utilized by humans for their benefits. For millennia, diverse microbes have yielded important biological products such as antibiotics, drugs, enzymes, herbicides, and growth promoters useful to humans (Fatima, Chaudhary, Ali, Rastogi, & Pathak, 2010). All these wonderful things are needed to solve problems to promote health and create new ways to heal. Understanding microbial diversity can help mediate emerging challenges like diseases, new pathogens, and even new viruses. In addition, microbes are everywhere you cannot escape them they live everywhere and mostly on everything, so they must be important. They have been on this earth long before us and most likely they will be here long after us. They live in the deepest parts of the ocean and in the most non-habitable parts of this world. Parts in which humans have not even ventured in or know of there are microbes. Understanding how the diversity of microbes is fundamental to the maintenance and conservation of global genetic resources.

As extreme environments are explored, the richness of microbial diversity is increasingly evident. Measures must be taken to estimate, record, and conserve microbial diversity, not only to sustain human health but also to enrich the human condition globally through wise use and conservation of genetic resources of the microbial world (Colwell 1997.) All in all, the study of microbial diversity is extremely important, and every day new areas of medicine, biology, and other science-related fields are explored, studying the basics and the simplest organisms can lead to a prosperous and complex finding. Especially within myself I have taken multiple classes that study microorganisms from plant biology to zoology microbial diversity is everywhere and important for most living things where they cause infection or promote metabolism, they are important and need to be understood and studied.

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