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How mutualisms arise in phytoplankton communities: building eco-evolutionary principles for aquatic microbes

Kazamia, E; Helliwell, KE; Purton, S; Smith, AG; (2016) How mutualisms arise in phytoplankton communities: building eco-evolutionary principles for aquatic microbes. Ecology Letters , 19 (7) pp. 810-822. 10.1111/ele.12615. Green open access

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Abstract

Extensive sampling and metagenomics analyses of plankton communities across all aquatic environments are beginning to provide insights into the ecology of microbial communities. In particular, the importance of metabolic exchanges that provide a foundation for ecological interactions between microorganisms has emerged as a key factor in forging such communities. Here we show how both studies of environmental samples and physiological experimentation in the laboratory with defined microbial co-cultures are being used to decipher the metabolic and molecular underpinnings of such exchanges. In addition, we explain how metabolic modelling may be used to conduct investigations in reverse, deducing novel molecular exchanges from analysis of large-scale data sets, which can identify persistently co-occurring species. Finally, we consider how knowledge of microbial community ecology can be built into evolutionary theories tailored to these species’ unique lifestyles. We propose a novel model for the evolution of metabolic auxotrophy in microorganisms that arises as a result of symbiosis, termed the Foraging-to-Farming hypothesis. The model has testable predictions, fits several known examples of mutualism in the aquatic world, and sheds light on how interactions, which cement dependencies within communities of microorganisms, might be initiated.

Type: Article
Title: How mutualisms arise in phytoplankton communities: building eco-evolutionary principles for aquatic microbes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ele.12615
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.12615
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 The Authors Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Ecology, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics, Foraging-To-Farming Hypothesis, Metabolite Exchange, Metagenomics, Microbial Communities, Mutualism, Phytoplankton, Vitamins, Algal Bloom, Open-Ocean, Heterotrophic Bacteria, Niche Differentiation, Marine Cyanobacteria, Escherichia-Coli, Iron Limitation, Pacific-Ocean, Sargasso Sea, Green-Alga
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Structural and Molecular Biology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1499895
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