Ecosystems under the microscope: why microbes matter for conservation

13 Mar 2018 18:00 - 19:45

Microscopic organisms are found everywhere on Earth: in soils, oceans, and living in association with animal and plant hosts. Recent research directed at understanding these complex microbial communities, known as the ‘microbiome’, has revealed that they play an essential role in maintaining the health of both individual species and entire ecosystems.

At the individual level, the host microbiome is critical to the function of the immune system and protection from harmful pathogens. At the ecosystem level, microbes drive a range of processes of significant importance to ecosystem health such as nutrient cycling. Therefore, microbes are likely responsible for shaping and maintaining the biodiversity we observe in nature, at all levels of organisation. 

It is now clear that understanding how microbes interact with the animals, plants and soils that they inhabit can help us to tackle a broad range of global conservation challenges.  At this event, we will explore several applied aspects of microbiome science, from designing probiotic therapies to mitigate wildlife disease, to optimising the health of commercially important pollinator species like bees, and increasing crop yields by enhancing below-ground nutrient cycling.


Attending this event

  • This Science and Conservation Event is free to attend and booking is not required.

  • Venue: Huxley Lecture Theatre, Main Meeting Rooms, ZSL London Zoo. See map

  • Underground – Camden Town Station; Nearest bus - no. 274

  • Doors open at 5pm for a 6pm start.

  • Seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

  • A drinks reception for ZSL Fellows and their guests is held from 5 – 5:50pm.  More information on ZSL Fellowship can be found here.

Book a 3-course dinner with the speakers

  • All attendees are welcome to attend a 3-course dinner with the speakers after the event. 

  • Dinner places cost £35 per person (including 2 glasses of wine).  Booking will be available on this webpage 1 month prior to the event.


  • Contact Jennifer Howes, Scientific Events Coordinator; 0207 449 6227

  • For press enquiries please contact the ZSL Press Office:

  • Sign up to receive email updates about forthcoming ZSL Science and Conservation Events