DOI: 10.1101/282723Mar 15, 2018Paper

Cohesiveness in microbial community coalescence

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Nanxi LuAlvaro Sanchez


Microbial invasions exhibit many unique properties; notably, entire microbial communities often invade one another, a phenomenon known as community coalescence. In spite of the potential importance of this process for the dynamics and stability of microbiome assembly, our understanding of it is still very limited. Recent theoretical and empirical work has proposed that large microbial communities may exhibit an emergent cohesiveness, as a result of collective consumer-resource interactions and metabolic feedbacks between microbial growth and the environment. A fundamental prediction of this proposal is the presence of ecological co-selection during community coalescence, where the invasion success of a given taxon is determined by its community members. To establish the generality of this prediction in experimental microbiomes, we have performed over one hundred invasion and coalescence experiments with environmental communities of different origins that had spontaneously and stably assembled in two different synthetic aerobic environments. We show that the dominant species of the coalesced communities can both recruit their community members (top-down co-selection) and be recruited by them (bottom-up co-selection) into the coa...Continue Reading

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