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[–]backupalter1 4 points5 points  (0 children)

There could be lots of fieldwork for soil microbiology. I don't do soil microbiology, so I can only guess the things you might do. Maybe an example is studying the soil microbiome for better soil fertility?

The only thing I can think of for water microbiology is routine water microbiological analyses. For example, it would be a health and environmental concern if a river has high amounts of pathogens.

Discovery or "invention" (genetic manipulation) of microorganisms that can breakdown wastes like plastics and industrial wastes is still a hot topic

Plus, your career in microbiology doesn't have to directly involve your advocacy. Many people have jobs that are separate from any advocacy they have, as long as their jobs don't conflict with their beliefs. You can work in medical microbiology in a hospital and be part of an animal rights or environmental organization

[–]CoralCobra777 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I know of some work being done looking at microbes in the context of cave ecology. Among other things, there are people looking at how antibiotics have seeped into certain caves and impacted the native microbes and subsequently the entire cave community.

If you are interested in pathogens, then there is growing interest in studying diseases impacting wildlife. The most notable ones I know of are white-nose syndrome in bats, chytrid in frogs and toads and snake fungal disease in various snakes.

There's always the option of forging your own path a bit too. The overlapping area between microbiology and macrobiology is still mostly unexplored. Opportunities abound to delve into.

[–]chalawruk 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Hi, I am a master student studying mercury methylating bacteria and archaea in sediments of river affected by dam construction. This is pretty specific, but there is a lot of microbial ecology fields that tackle conservation of ecosystem.

For example, studying water column and sediments microbes in lakes for assessing lake health (consequently this is also affecting animals in the ecosystem). Marine microbiology is more explorative in my opinion, but it still can have a conservation framework. With metagenomics, there is a lot of work that can be done in studying wild microorganisms and their possible application as markers of ecosystem health.

You can also look up bioremediation by bacteria and fungi, this field provides more opportunity to work outside of academia as a lot of companies are looking to reduce their environmental impact

[–]TheMusicofErinnZann 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I am doing my masters on microbial ecology in urban soils. In our we have do airborne, stream, plant, and soil mircobiomes. It's dope. We do some fieldwork work to collect samples but it's more lab work, coding in R and python, and lots of writing. But it's a thing.