Bioaerosols in the Earth System: Climate, Health, and Ecosystem Interactions

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Bioaerosol, Biological ice nuclei, Allergens, Bacteria, Fungi

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College of Natual Science and Mathematics, Chemistry and Biochemistry


Aerosols of biological origin play a vital role in the Earth system, particularly in the interactions between atmosphere, biosphere, climate, and public health. Airborne bacteria, fungal spores, pollen, and other bioparticles are essential for the reproduction and spread of organisms across various ecosystems, and they can cause or enhance human, animal, and plant diseases. Moreover, they can serve as nuclei for cloud droplets, ice crystals, and precipitation, thus influencing the hydrological cycle and climate. The sources, abundance, composition, and effects of biological aerosols and the atmospheric microbiome are, however, not yet well characterized and constitute a large gap in the scientific understanding of the interaction and co-evolution of life and climate in the Earth system. This review presents an overview of the state of bioaerosol research, highlights recent advances, and outlines future perspectives in terms of bioaerosol identification, characterization, transport, and transformation processes, as well as their interactions with climate, health, and ecosystems, focusing on the role bioaerosols play in the Earth system.

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