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Emergent simplicity in microbial community assembly

From Complex Time
Category
General Reference
author-supplied keywords
keywords
authors
title
Emergent simplicity in microbial community assembly
type
journal
year
2018
source
Science
pages
469-474
volume
361
issue
6401
publisher
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Abstract

Microbes assemble into complex, dynamic, and species-rich communities that play critical roles in human health and in the environment. The complexity of natural environments and the large number of niches present in most habitats are often invoked to explain the maintenance of microbial diversity in the presence of competitive exclusion. Here we show that soil and plant-associated microbiota, cultivated ex situ in minimal synthetic environments with a single supplied source of carbon, universally re-assemble into large and dynamically stable communities with strikingly predictable coarse-grained taxonomic and functional compositions. We find that generic, non-specific metabolic cross-feeding leads to the assembly of dense facilitation networks that enable the coexistence of multiple competitors for the supplied carbon source. The inclusion of universal and non-specific cross-feeding in ecological consumer-resource models is sufficient to explain our observations, and predicts a simple determinism in community structure, a property reflected in our experiments.

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Identifiers

  • doi: 10.1126/science.aat1168 (Google search)
  • issn: 10959203
  • sgr: 85051138998
  • isbn: 1498224114983
  • pmid: 30072533
  • arxiv: 10.1101/205831
  • scopus: 2-s2.0-85051138998
  • pui: 623364512

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