www.frontiersinecology.org © The Ecological Society of America E problems are intensifying and threatening biodiversity and sustainability worldwide. Scientific understanding is a necessary step toward addressing these problems, but natural science alone is insufficient for achieving desired outcomes that benefit humans and the environment. Human behavior strongly influences ecological and social outcomes; individual decisions and institutional systems affect how environmental problems are addressed. These social–ecological outcomes can relate to monetary (eg economic growth, human health) or non-monetary (eg human well-being, improved water quality) values. Social–ecological frameworks represent a promising approach for addressing the human dimension of environmental problems. Specifically, a social–ecological framework is a conceptual model used to examine complex interactions between people and ecological entities and processes. Social– ecological frameworks identify how social factors influence biodiversity, community structure, and ecosystem processes, as well as how ecological change affects social systems through ecosystem services (Figure 1). There is growing appreciation that the integration of social and natural sciences is essential for understanding environmental issues and managing ecosystem services (Grimm et al. 2000; Collins et al. 2011). To date, this approach has focused almost exclusively on macro-organisms (plants and animals). We argue that a social–ecological framework is also critical for managing microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses.