Quantifying the roles of immigration and chance in shaping prokaryote community structure

Sloan, W. , Lunn, M., Woodcock, S., Head, I.M., Nee, S. and Curtis, T.P. (2006) Quantifying the roles of immigration and chance in shaping prokaryote community structure. Environmental Microbiology, 8(4), pp. 732-740. (doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2005.00956.x) (PMID:16584484)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1462-2920.2005.00956.x


Naturally occurring populations of bacteria and archaea are vital to life on the earth and are of enormous practical significance in medicine, engineering and agriculture. However, the rules governing the formation of such communities are still poorly understood, and there is a need for a usable mathematical description of this process. Typically, microbial community structure is thought to be shaped mainly by deterministic factors such as competition and niche differentiation. Here we show, for a wide range of prokaryotic communities, that the relative abundance and frequency with which different taxa are observed in samples can be explained by a neutral community model (NCM). The NCM, which is a stochastic, birth–death immigration process, does not explicitly represent the deterministic factors and therefore cannot be a complete or literal description of community assembly. However, its success suggests that chance and immigration are important forces in shaping the patterns seen in prokaryotic communities.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sloan, Professor William and Curtis, Professor Thomas and Woodcock, Mr Stephen and Lunn, Dr Mary
Authors: Sloan, W., Lunn, M., Woodcock, S., Head, I.M., Nee, S., and Curtis, T.P.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Environmental Microbiology
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Published Online:08 December 2005

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
351751Enhancement of biological treatment of contaminated waters by increasing microbial diversityWilliam SloanEngineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)GR/S67128/01ENG - ENGINEERING INFRASTRUCTURE & ENVIR
331411Scale Dependent Modelling of Community Assembly in Microbe PopulationsWilliam SloanNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NER/T/S/2002/00ENG - ENGINEERING INFRASTRUCTURE & ENVIR