The diversity of microorganisms is greater than any other group of organisms on Earth, but our knowledge of the diversity and genetic wealth in these groups is limited. Microorganisms are key to the integrated functioning of nutrient cycles and decomposition, soil structure, and plant growth in agricultural systems. Research is needed to increase our understanding of the diversity and function of microbial communities in agroecosystems. In agroecosystems, microbial diversity will influence all the other levels within the ecosystem by functions such as those involved in nitrogen and carbon cycling, soil structure maintenance, and biological control. The challenge ahead is to identify the level of microbial diversity, species composition and distribution, and the resiliency of the community to withstand stress and maintain a quality ecosystem. We need to determine the extent of microbial diversity in agroecosystems and increase our knowledge of the functional roles of microbes to assess their role in agroecosystem quality and productivity.

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