Short Communication | Published:

Dispersal alters bacterial diversity and composition in a natural community

The ISME Journal volume 12, pages 296299 (2018) | Download Citation

Abstract

Dispersal is central to the evolution and maintenance of microbial diversity. Quantifying microbial dispersal and its role in shaping communities remains a challenge, however. Here, we manipulated a bacterial community’s dispersal rate in a grassland ecosystem and test whether this altered diversity and composition. We constructed bags of two nylon mesh sizes that allowed more or less bacterial movement and filled them with an edible or inedible substrate, irradiated plant litter or nylon sheets. We measured changes in bacterial abundance (using flow cytometry) and composition (using 16S amplicon sequencing) in the bags weekly over 5 months. The dispersal treatment altered bacterial colonization rates and led to differences in the abundance, richness, evenness and composition of communities. Overall, the study demonstrates that dispersal influences the assembly of this natural bacterial community.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. , , , , , et al. (2013). Microbial abundance and composition influence litter decomposition response to environmental change. Ecology 94: 714–725.

  2. , , , , , . (2016). A latitudinal diversity gradient in terrestrial bacteria of the genus Streptomyces. Mbio 7: e02200–e02215.

  3. , , , , , et al. (2015). Continental-scale distributions of dust-associated bacteria and fungi. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112: 5756–5761.

  4. . (2010). Experimental tests of the bacterial distance-decay relationship. ISME J 4: 1357–1365.

  5. . (2007). Drought mediates the importance of stochastic community assembly. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104: 17430–17434.

  6. . (2005). Integrating environmental and spatial processes in ecological community dynamics. Ecol Lett 8: 1175–1182.

  7. , , , , . (2016). Microbial interactions lead to rapid micro-scale successions on model marine particles. Nat Commun 7: 11965.

  8. , , . (2017). Effects of dispersal and selection on stochastic assembly in microbial communities. ISME J 11: 176–185.

  9. , , , . (2012). Beyond biogeographic patterns: processes shaping the microbial landscape. Nat Rev Microbiol 10: 497–506.

  10. , , , . (2004). A taxa-area relationship for bacteria. Nature 432: 750–753.

  11. , , , , , et al. (2004). The metacommunity concept: a framework for multi-scale community ecology. Ecol Lett 7: 601–613.

  12. , . (2011). The importance of dispersal for bacterial community composition and functioning. PLoS One 6: e25883.

  13. , , , , , et al. (2016). High taxonomic variability despite stable functional structure across microbial communities. Nat Ecol Evol 1: 0015.

  14. , , , , , et al. (2017). Microbial legacies alter decomposition in response to simulated global change. ISME J 11: 490–499.

  15. , , , , . (2011). Drivers of bacterial beta-diversity depend on spatial scale. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108: 7850–7854.

  16. , , , , , et al. (2015). Temporal variation overshadows the response of leaf litter microbial communities to simulated global change. ISME J 9: 2477–2489.

  17. , , , , , et al. (2013). Patterns and processes of microbial community assembly. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 77: 342–356.

  18. , , , . (2012). Variation in local carrying capacity and the individual fate of bacterial colonizers in the phyllosphere. ISME J 6: 756–765.

  19. , , . (2003). Geographic barriers isolate endemic populations of hyperthermophilic archaea. Science 301: 976–978.

  20. , , , , , et al. (2013). A metagenomic framework for the study of airborne microbial communities. PLoS One 8: e81862.

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank Claudia Weihe for assistance with field sampling and laboratory methods. We thank Lucía Vivanco, Alexander Chase, Kendra Walters, Sydney Glassman and John Dunbar for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. This work was supported by a US Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowship to MA and the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), under Award Number DE-PS02-09ER09-25 to JM.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

    • Michaeline B N Albright
    •  & Jennifer B H Martiny

Authors

  1. Search for Michaeline B N Albright in:

  2. Search for Jennifer B H Martiny in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michaeline B N Albright.

Supplementary information

About this article

Publication history

Received

Revised

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2017.161

Supplementary Information accompanies this paper on The ISME Journal website (http://www.nature.com/ismej)