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Title: Disentangling Mechanisms That Mediate the Balance Between Stochastic and Deterministic Processes in Microbial Succession

Despite growing recognition that deterministic and stochastic factors simultaneously influence bacterial communities, little is known about mechanisms shifting their relative importance. To better understand underlying mechanisms, we developed a conceptual model linking ecosystem development during primary succession to shifts in the stochastic/deterministic balance. To evaluate the conceptual model we coupled spatiotemporal data on soil bacterial communities with environmental conditions spanning 105 years of salt marsh development. At the local scale there was a progression from stochasticity to determinism due to Na accumulation with increasing ecosystem age, supporting a main element of the conceptual model. At the regional-scale, soil organic matter (SOM) governed the relative influence of stochasticity and the type of deterministic ecological selection, suggesting scale-dependency in how deterministic ecological selection is imposed. Analysis of a new ecological simulation model supported these conceptual inferences. Looking forward, we propose an extended conceptual model that integrates primary and secondary succession in microbial systems.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(11):E1326-E1332
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
bacterial succession; community assembly; neutral theory; niche theory; null models; simulation model; evolutionary niche conservatism