Shrewsbury School

Darwin Society: 'Standing on the shoulders of microscopic giants: : How we all depend on micro-organisms' (SLT)

Friday 1 March 2019 at 19:30

The Darwin Society looks forward to welcoming Professor Beatrix Fahnert from the University of Lincoln. In her talk, she will discuss some of the most intriguing as well as everyday examples of how we all depend on microorganisms, and will introduce some research in these contexts.

2.5x10^30 microbial cells are estimated to inhabit our planet. They exist and grow in plentiful or adverse conditions, from extreme cold to extreme heat, with or without oxygen. Yet we rarely see microorganisms directly and mainly notice the effects of microbial presence and microbial activities.

Microorganisms are more abundant and diverse than anything we can actually see. Our planet and human life could not exist without them. For about 80% of Earth's history, microorganisms have been the only inhabitants. Cyanobacteria started to produce oxygen about three billion years ago, and the evolution of mammals has been virus-driven.

Microbial communities are essential to keep all basic matter cycles going. Microorganisms provide, preserve or contribute to our nutrition, and even produced some of our fossil fuels. On the other hand, they can damage our livelihood and our health. Socio-economics of infectious diseases has impacted on us in the past, present and future. How will the future of microbiology and thus our future develop?

This talk takes place in the Science Lecture Theatre and is open to the public. There is no charge for admission.

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