Aug 16, 2017

High taxonomic variability despite stable functional structure across microbial communities

Nature Ecology & Evolution
Stilianos LoucaMichael Doebeli

Abstract

Understanding the processes that are driving variation of natural microbial communities across space or time is a major challenge for ecologists. Environmental conditions strongly shape the metabolic function of microbial communities; however, other processes such as biotic interactions, random demographic drift or dispersal limitation may also influence community dynamics. The relative importance of these processes and their effects on community function remain largely unknown. To address this uncertainty, here we examined bacterial and archaeal communities in replicate 'miniature' aquatic ecosystems contained within the foliage of wild bromeliads. We used marker gene sequencing to infer the taxonomic composition within nine metabolic functional groups, and shotgun environmental DNA sequencing to estimate the relative abundances of these groups. We found that all of the bromeliads exhibited remarkably similar functional community structures, but that the taxonomic composition within individual functional groups was highly variable. Furthermore, using statistical analyses, we found that non-neutral processes, including environmental filtering and potentially biotic interactions, at least partly shaped the composition within fun...Continue Reading

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  • Citations27

References

Mentioned in this Paper

Biological Markers
Metabolic Process, Cellular
Spatial Distribution
Environment
Nucleic Acid Sequencing
Anatomical Space Structure
Drug Interactions
Sequence Determinations, DNA
Microbial
Structure

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