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      Resistance, resilience, and redundancy in microbial communities

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          Although it is generally accepted that plant community composition is key for predicting rates of ecosystem processes in the face of global change, microbial community composition is often ignored in ecosystem modeling. To address this issue, we review recent experiments and assess whether microbial community composition is resistant, resilient, or functionally redundant in response to four different disturbances. We find that the composition of most microbial groups is sensitive and not immediately resilient to disturbance, regardless of taxonomic breadth of the group or the type of disturbance. Other studies demonstrate that changes in composition are often associated with changes in ecosystem process rates. Thus, changes in microbial communities due to disturbance may directly affect ecosystem processes. Based on these relationships, we propose a simple framework to incorporate microbial community composition into ecosystem process models. We conclude that this effort would benefit from more empirical data on the links among microbial phylogeny, physiological traits, and disturbance responses. These relationships will determine how readily microbial community composition can be used to predict the responses of ecosystem processes to global change.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Rebuilding community ecology from functional traits.

          There is considerable debate about whether community ecology will ever produce general principles. We suggest here that this can be achieved but that community ecology has lost its way by focusing on pairwise species interactions independent of the environment. We assert that community ecology should return to an emphasis on four themes that are tied together by a two-step process: how the fundamental niche is governed by functional traits within the context of abiotic environmental gradients; and how the interaction between traits and fundamental niches maps onto the realized niche in the context of a biotic interaction milieu. We suggest this approach can create a more quantitative and predictive science that can more readily address issues of global change.
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            Comparative metagenomics of microbial communities.

            The species complexity of microbial communities and challenges in culturing representative isolates make it difficult to obtain assembled genomes. Here we characterize and compare the metabolic capabilities of terrestrial and marine microbial communities using largely unassembled sequence data obtained by shotgun sequencing DNA isolated from the various environments. Quantitative gene content analysis reveals habitat-specific fingerprints that reflect known characteristics of the sampled environments. The identification of environment-specific genes through a gene-centric comparative analysis presents new opportunities for interpreting and diagnosing environments.
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              Plant Diversity and Productivity Experiments in European Grasslands

               A. Hector (1999)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                August 14 2008
                August 12 2008
                August 11 2008
                August 12 2008
                : 105
                : Supplement 1
                : 11512-11519
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.0801925105
                2556421
                18695234
                © 2008
                Product

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