Whether it is a single rock being overturned or an entire mountaintop being removed, humans play a continuous role in environmental processes, and vice versa. Human-ecosystem interactions - from the effects of nanomaterials on plant growth to the diversity of insect species on green roofs, and even communities of airborne microbes in hospital buildings - are on the agenda at the Ecological Society of America's 95th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, US. Here is just some of the latest research on humans and the environment:
Their findings revealed that silver nanoparticles altered root growth and plant physiology, and the abundance, composition and activity of microbial communities. Specifically in plants, roots near the soil surface were more abundant, though biomass of one of the five tested plant species decreased by 22%. In addition, microbial abundance decreased, the species of bacteria present changed and microbial enzyme activities were reduced by as much as 34%.