Microbial Ecology

As seen in human commensal microbiomes.

Microbiomes. Hyperdiversity. (analogy between hyperdiversity in microbes and in societies).

  • environmental implications of the largely hidden microbiome (geoengineering! horrible climate feedbacks!)

  • The economics-driven approaches used to analyse microbes.

    These little single-celled monsters are suggestively human in their interactions; what with profligate horizontal gene transfer, hyperdiversity and incredibly short generation times, they look, if you squint, more like a human economy than a Lotka-Volterra system.

    No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same.

Software: Mothur.


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Cordero, Otto X., Laure-Anne Ventouras, Edward F. DeLong, and Martin F. Polz. 2012. “Public Good Dynamics Drive Evolution of Iron Acquisition Strategies in Natural Bacterioplankton Populations.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 (49): 20059–64. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1213344109.
Cordero, Otto X., Hans Wildschutte, Benjamin Kirkup, Sarah Proehl, Lynn Ngo, Fatima Hussain, Frederique Le Roux, Tracy Mincer, and Martin F. Polz. 2012. “Ecological Populations of Bacteria Act as Socially Cohesive Units of Antibiotic Production and Resistance.” Science 337 (6099): 1228–31. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1219385.
Heck, Kenneth L., Jr., Gerald van Belle, and Daniel Simberloff. 1975. “Explicit Calculation of the Rarefaction Diversity Measurement and the Determination of Sufficient Sample Size.” Ecology 56 (6): 1459–61. https://doi.org/10.2307/1934716.
Kraemer, Susanne A., and Gregory J. Velicer. 2014. “Social Complementation and Growth Advantages Promote Socially Defective Bacterial Isolates.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 281 (1781): 20140036. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.0036.
Oliveira, Nuno M., Rene Niehus, and Kevin R. Foster. 2014. “Evolutionary Limits to Cooperation in Microbial Communities.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (50): 17941–46. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1412673111.

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