Tropical soil ecosystems are diverse and complex and are different from those of temperate ecosystems. The various ecosystems found within the tropics provide the setting for diverse microbial niches and evolution. There is not a meaningful correlation between latitude and bacterial diversity, but communities can be characterized by ecotypes and function. Desert soils experience extremes of solar radiation, minimal precipitation, heat, and cold and in them very diverse bacterial communities have evolved and are briefly discussed. In the semiarid tropical biomes, dominated by grass vegetation, we find resilient dry-adapted bacterial biodiversity associated with plants. Water rich tropical environments including the rainforest soils and mangroves sediments are incredibly diverse and retain untold biotechnology potential. Tropical soils provide food for approximately 40% of the World's population, many of whom are in developing countries. In Brazil, microbial inoculants isolated from tropical soils have been used to significantly improve food production on a large scale and this type of biotechnology is being shared by Embrapa with tropical countries in Africa. Tropical soil bacteria are already being used to remediate polluted soils, promote reforestation, and to protect water resources, but this needs to be scaled up everywhere throughout the tropics. It is of paramount importance to preserve areas within unique tropical ecosystems to ensure that their soil microbial gene pool is not lost to future generations.
|Title of host publication
|The Prokaryotes: Prokaryotic Communities and Ecophysiology
|Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
|Number of pages
|Published - Apr 1 2012