van der gast

Patterns and Processes Underpinning the Commonness and Rarity of Microbial Taxa

4:00pm - 5:00pm / Tuesday 23rd October 2018 / Venue: Lecture Theatre 1 Life Sciences Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Research / Series: BEEM Seminar
  • Suitable for: Staff and students with an interest in Behaviour, Evolution, Ecology and Microbiology
  • Admission: Free
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Speaker: Chris Van der Gast (Manchester Metropolitan University)

The commonness and rarity of species is fundamental to understanding mechanisms that regulate animal and plant biodiversity. The repeated observation that the majority of species are rare while the common are in the minority is recognised as one of the oldest laws in ecology, prompting the development of species abundance models. Here we tested the generality of this law using different microbial groups sampled from across spatially separated grassland soils. We demonstrated that a continuum of commonness and rarity exists across local communities within spatially separated metacommunities of phylogenetic and physiologically distinct microorganisms. The deterministic ecological process of homogenising dispersal predominates in driving spatial distribution of the common taxa, while the stochastic process of drift underpins the rare taxa. The results uncover a generalized law of biodiversity that span animals, plants, and now microorganisms, adding strong support to an inclusive ecology.