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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME - Vol. 59, No. 1 - Feature article
Marine (background) and freshwater (inset) bacterioplankton look similar under the microscope but present very different dominant bacteria. The ecological drivers guiding assemblage composition are, however, intriguing and challenging for microbial ecologists today. Photos: L. Alonso

Barberán A, Casamayor EO


Global phylogenetic community structure and b-diversity patterns in surface bacterioplankton metacommunities


Barberan and Casamayor made one of the few attempts to use the concepts and metrics of phylogenetic community ecology on large microbial datasets. Using a global comparative database survey of thousands of bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences from lakes and marine sites, and a metacommunity ecology perspective, the species richness, phylogenetic relationships, and community phylogenetic structure were assessed. Lakes were genetically more diverse than marine waters, and marine habitats showed bacterial communities more closely related than expected by chance. Different patterns to both salt composition (marine vs. inland salt lakes) and salt concentration were observed. Environmental similarity better explained the bacterial β-diversity patterns, but a geographic signal was observed in freshwater bacteria. These findings may shed some light on the microbial community assembly rules.


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