For example, a major unresolved question is how much of observed genetic heterogeneity is due to neutral versus adaptive processes. Complex signalling is involved when the plant immune system recognises beneficial endosymbionts although many have also evolved mechanisms to evade or moderate plant defence pathways.
In the following sections we discuss examples of areas of ecological theory that might be particularly valuable in microbial ecology. Both secrete factors prior to contacting plant cells which appear to prepare the hosts for mutual rather than pathogenic interactions and suppress the defence mechanisms.
Our planet is experiencing rates of environmental change unprecedented in modern times, and an understanding of how microbes both mediate and respond to these shifts is an important research challenge De Vries and Shade, The best-known examples are rhizobia, bacteria that induce root nodules on leguminous plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen; and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi that sequester phosphate and organic N from soil and provide it to their plant hosts.
The authors demonstrate how the application of macro-ecological theory to the microbial world is not only enhancing our understanding of microbial ecology but also providing a reference point for the development of new theories.
Hallmarks of Microbial Adaptation, Divergence and Speciation? He used a consumer-resource model to demonstrate that, at medium levels of niche overlap, outcomes of competition can be unpredictable, decoupling relationships between abundance and adaptation.
Such a system-level molecular organismal classification system will need to be solidly grounded in ecological theory, population genetic theory and evolutionary theory, and may be universally applicable to the three domains of life. Reviews "well-written essays to explore a number of microbial ecological theories from population genetic and evolution theory to microbial biogeography The authors demonstrate how the application of macro-ecological theory to the microbial world is not only enhancing our understanding of microbial ecology but also providing a reference point for the development of new theories.
Their work also showed high rates of diffusion coupled to high rates of production can lead to community bottlenecks and increases in stochasticity.
From the limited amount of largely disjointed metagenomic and functional data obtained to date, extensive intra- and inter-system as well as extensive intra- and inter-population differences are apparent.
The academic content of this volume is robust and the questions posted are thought-provoking In doing so we highlight areas in which theory is helping to enhance the understanding of this dynamic continuum and where current theory fails as well as suggesting future avenues of research.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Is Everything Small Everywhere? The challenge facing microbial ecologists, and indeed all ecolo- gists, is to match the appropriate theoretical approach to the organism, system, scale and question of interest.
Furthermore, through the application of spatial statistical analyses, factors leading to ecological events can be determined and verified. Consequently, it is difficult to ascertain specific molecular patterns that define specific microbial groups that would be congruent with the definition of a microbial species.
We also identify conceptual and practical challenges faced by microbial ecologists in applying quantitative ecological theory. We consider whether and where new theory might be required for microorganisms to enhance or replace established ecological theory. In particular, our understanding of microbial population-level differentiation involved in ecological adaptation that leads to microbial divergence and speciation has been profoundly altered.
Microbial ecologists are beginning to actively draw upon ecological theories from macro ecology to study microbial communities.
Furthermore, the application of existing theory would afford ecologists the opportu- nity to test the true generality of ecological principles and to create a synthetic ecology that spans all organisms.
Reviews "well-written essays to explore a number of microbial ecological theories from population genetic and evolution theory to microbial biogeography Evolutionary dynamics can also alter relationships between structure and function.19 Hélène Collin, Luca Fumagalli, The role of geography and ecology in shaping repeated patterns of morphological and genetic differentiation between European minnows (Phoxinus phoxinus) from the Pyrenees and the Alps, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 3, Wiley Online Library.
The human-microbial ecosystem plays a variety of important roles in human health and disease. Each person can be viewed as an island-like “patch” of habitat occupied by microbial assemblages formed by the fundamental processes of community ecology: dispersal, local diversification, environmental selection, and ecological drift.
Community assembly theory, and metacommunity theory. For example, improved quantitative theory The role of ecological theory could increase the efficiency of wastewater treatment processes, through the predic- in microbial ecology tion of optimal operating conditions and conditions that are likely to result in system failure.
Combining ecological network analysis and food-web theory with biodiversity–ecosystem functioning research to detect correlative patterns in soil communities and ecosystem functions may help to elucidate these complex processes.
Microbial ecology is currently undergoing a revolution, with repercussions spreading throughout microbiology, ecology and ecosystem science. Microbial ecology is currently undergoing a revolution, with repercussions spreading throughout microbiology, ecology and ecosystem science.
The rapid accumulation of molecular data is uncovering vast diversity, abundant uncultivated microbial groups and novel microbial functions.Download