General decline in the diversity of the airborne microbiota under future climatic scenarios

Ontiveros, Vicente J.; Caliz, Joan; Triadó-Margarit, Xavier; Alonso, David; Casamayor, Emilio O.  . Scientific Reports 11 : 20223 (2021)   DIGITAL CSIC    

Microorganisms attached to aerosols can travel intercontinental distances, survive, and further colonize remote environments. Airborne microbes are influenced by environmental and climatic patterns that are predicted to change in the near future, with unknown consequences. We developed a new predictive method that dynamically addressed the temporal evolution of biodiversity in response to environmental covariates, linked to future climatic scenarios of the IPCC (AR5). We fitted these models against a 7-year monitoring of airborne microbes, collected in wet depositions. We found that Bacteria were more influenced by climatic variables than by aerosols sources, while the opposite was detected for Eukarya. Also, model simulations showed a general decline in bacterial richness, idiosyncratic responses of Eukarya, and changes in seasonality, with higher intensity within the worst-case climatic scenario (RCP 8.5). Additionally, the model predicted lower richness for airborne potential eukaryotic (fungi) pathogens of plants and humans. Our work pioneers on the potential effects of environmental variability on the airborne microbiome under the uncertain context of climate change.