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Title: Diversity is the question, not the answer

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:
Grant/Contract Number:
FC02-07ER64494
Type:
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
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)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; Microbial ecology
OSTI Identifier:
1427717