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Title: Diversity is the question, not the answer

Abstract

Local diversity (within-sample or alpha diversity) is often implicated as a cause of success or failure of a microbial community. However, the relationships between diversity and emergent properties of a community, such as its stability, productivity or invasibility, are much more nuanced. In this paper, I argue that diversity without context provides limited insights into the mechanisms underpinning community patterns. I provide examples from traditional and microbial ecology to discuss common complications and assumptions about within-sample diversity that may prevent us from digging deeper into the more specific mechanisms underpinning community outcomes. I suggest that measurement of diversity should serve as a starting point for further inquiry of ecological mechanisms rather than an 'answer' to community outcomes.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) and Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1427717
Grant/Contract Number:  
FC02-07ER64494
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The ISME Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1751-7362
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; Microbial ecology

Citation Formats

Shade, Ashley. Diversity is the question, not the answer. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.118.
Shade, Ashley. Diversity is the question, not the answer. United States. doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.118.
Shade, Ashley. Fri . "Diversity is the question, not the answer". United States. doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.118. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1427717.
@article{osti_1427717,
title = {Diversity is the question, not the answer},
author = {Shade, Ashley},
abstractNote = {Local diversity (within-sample or alpha diversity) is often implicated as a cause of success or failure of a microbial community. However, the relationships between diversity and emergent properties of a community, such as its stability, productivity or invasibility, are much more nuanced. In this paper, I argue that diversity without context provides limited insights into the mechanisms underpinning community patterns. I provide examples from traditional and microbial ecology to discuss common complications and assumptions about within-sample diversity that may prevent us from digging deeper into the more specific mechanisms underpinning community outcomes. I suggest that measurement of diversity should serve as a starting point for further inquiry of ecological mechanisms rather than an 'answer' to community outcomes.},
doi = {10.1038/ismej.2016.118},
journal = {The ISME Journal},
number = 1,
volume = 11,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Sep 16 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Fri Sep 16 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

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Cited by: 16 works
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Works referenced in this record:

Dissecting biological "dark matter" with single-cell genetic analysis of rare and uncultivated TM7 microbes from the human mouth
journal, July 2007

  • Marcy, Y.; Ouverney, C.; Bik, E. M.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 104, Issue 29, p. 11889-11894
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0704662104