student University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, Colorado, United States
Session Description: Environmental and host-associated microbiomes are increasingly appreciated as critical physiological, ecological, and biogeochemical mediators within and among living things, and between organisms and their abiotic environments. It is no surprise that socioeconomic determinants may alter, disrupt or deplete, or stabilize and sustain, microbial community structure. In this way, microbiome ecosystem functions can be differentially experienced across demographics and geography. Social and environmental inequality entails concrete alterations and differentiation of microbial communities among social groups, by way of factors including nutritional access, environmental pollutants, or green space availability, often to the detriment of public and ecosystem health. This special session will be organized as a panel discussion followed by break-out groups in order to provide participants the opportunity to discuss the ways in which social inequity interacts with microbiomes. We will focus on how we might intervene as scientists and communities to engage in research, policy, and microbiome stewardship while advancing social and environmental equality. We aim to inspire research questions, build community, and generate actionable items.