Molecular techniques are valuable tools that can improve our understanding of the structure of microbial communities. They provide the ability to probe for life in all niches of the biosphere, perhaps even supplanting the need to cultivate microorganisms or to conduct ecophysiological investigations. However, an overemphasis and strict dependence on such large information-driven endeavours as environmental metagenomics could overwhelm the field, to the detriment of microbial ecology. We now call for more balanced, hypothesis-driven research efforts that couple metagenomics with classic approaches.
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Whither or wither geomicrobiology in the era of 'community metagenomics'