Modelling the effects of dispersal mechanisms and hydrodynamic regimes upon the structure of microbial communities within fluvial biofilms

Woodcock, S., Besemer, K., Battin, T.J., Curtis, T.P. and Sloan, W. (2013) Modelling the effects of dispersal mechanisms and hydrodynamic regimes upon the structure of microbial communities within fluvial biofilms. Environmental Microbiology, 15(4), pp. 1216-1225. (doi:10.1111/1462-2920.12055)

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Abstract

The spatial distribution of microbial taxa is determined primarily by physical and chemical environments and by dispersal. In a homogeneous landscape with limited dispersal, the similarity in abundance of taxa in samples declines with separation distance. We present a one-dimensional model for the spatial autocorrelation in abundances arising from immigration from some remote community and dispersal between environmentally similar landscape patches. Spatial correlation in taxa abundances were calculated from biofilms from the beds of two flumes which differed only in their bedform profiles; one flat and the other a periodic sawtooth shape. The hydraulic regime is approximately uniform over the flat bed, whereas the sawtooth induces fast flow over the peaks and recirculation in the troughs. On the flat bed, the correlation decline between samples was reproduced by a model using one biologically reasonable parameter. A decline was apparent in the other flume; however, a better fit was achieved when dispersal was not assumed constant everywhere. However, analysis of finer-resolution data for the heterogeneous flume suggested even this model did not adequately capture the community's complexity. We conclude that hydrodynamics are a strong driver of taxa-abundance patterns in stream biofilms. However, local adaptability must also be considered to build up a complete mechanistic model.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sloan, Professor William and Woodcock, Mr Stephen
Authors: Woodcock, S., Besemer, K., Battin, T.J., Curtis, T.P., and Sloan, W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Environmental Microbiology
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN:1462-2912

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
424791Developing theory on the formation, composition and structure of open microbial communities that can be used in engineering designWilliam SloanEngineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/D073693/1ENG - ENGINEERING INFRASTRUCTURE & ENVIR