Microbiomes have highly important roles for ecosystem functioning and carry out key functions that support planetary health, including nutrient cycling, climate regulation, and water filtration. Microbiomes are also intimately associated with complex multicellular organisms such as humans, other animals, plants, and insects and perform crucial roles for the health of their hosts. Although we are starting to understand that microbiomes in different systems are interconnected, there is still a poor understanding of microbiome transfer and connectivity. In this review we show how microbiomes are connected within and transferred between different habitats and discuss the functional consequences of these connections. Microbiome transfer occurs between and within abiotic (e.g., air, soil, and water) and biotic environments, and can either be mediated through different vectors (e.g., insects or food) or direct interactions. Such transfer processes may also include the transmission of pathogens or antibiotic resistance genes. However, here, we highlight the fact that microbiome transmission can have positive effects on planetary and human health, where transmitted microorganisms potentially providing novel functions may be important for the adaptation of ecosystems.
- Exploration of Biological Resources