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Multifunctionality and Diversity in Bacterial Biofilms
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Limnology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Limnology.
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2011 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 6, no 8, e23225- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Bacteria are highly diverse and drive a bulk of ecosystem processes. Analysis of relationships between diversity and single specific ecosystem processes neglects the possibility that different species perform multiple functions at the same time. The degradation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) followed by respiration is a key bacterial function that is modulated by the availability of DOC and the capability to produce extracellular enzymes. In freshwater ecosystems, biofilms are metabolic hotspots and major sites of DOC degradation. We manipulated the diversity of biofilm forming communities which were fed with DOC differing in availability. We characterized community composition using molecular fingerprinting (T-RFLP) and measured functioning as oxygen consumption rates, the conversion of DOC in the medium, bacterial abundance and the activities of five specific enzymes. Based on assays of the extracellular enzyme activity, we calculated how the likelihood of sustaining multiple functions was affected by reduced diversity. Carbon source and biofilm age were strong drivers of community functioning, and we demonstrate how the likelihood of sustaining multifunctionality decreases with decreasing diversity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 6, no 8, e23225- p.
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-158168DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023225ISI: 000293563300048OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-158168DiVA: diva2:438634
Available from: 2011-09-05 Created: 2011-09-01 Last updated: 2016-04-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Diversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Redundancy and Resilience in Freshwater Bacterial Communities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Diversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Redundancy and Resilience in Freshwater Bacterial Communities
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Bacteria are immensely diverse and hold key-positions in essentially all biogeochemical cycles. In freshwater ecosystems, bacteria degrade and mineralize organic compounds, linking the pool of dissolved organic matter to higher trophic levels. Aware of the global biodiversity loss, ecologists have started identifying the relationship of diversity and ecosystem functioning. Central to this is the question if species can functionally replace other species, hence being functionally redundant. Functional redundancy might allow communities to maintain functioning when diversity is lost. Due to their large numbers and great diversity, bacterial communities have been suspected to harbor large amounts of redundancy. The central aim of this thesis is to investigate the coupling of diversity and ecosystem functioning of bacterial communities and to understand how environmental perturbation affects this relationship. I manipulated the diversity of complex communities by a dilution technique, and measured the performance of bacterioplankton and biofilm-forming communities at different diversities. Reduction of bacterial diversity differently affected different functions, and that the presence or absence of certain species might be causing this pattern. However, for ecosystems to function, the interplay of multiple functions, i.e. multifunctionality, has to be sustained over long periods of time. In bacterial biofilm communities reduced diversity affected multifunctionality, as reflected by extracellular enzyme activities. A continuous cultivation system was used to address the importance of diversity for resistance and resilience upon environmental perturbation. The analysis of co-occurrence of bacterial taxa showed that the communities form a dense network before the perturbation and that these patterns are disturbed by the environmental perturbation. The final chapter of the thesis presents experimental evidence for the positive effects of temporal and spatial refuges for bacterial communities and the functions they provide. Overall, I found several indications for a lower amount of functional redundancy as previously assumed and it becomes apparent from this thesis that a multifunctional perspective and the consideration of environmental heterogeneity is pivotal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2011. 48 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 882
biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, bacteria, fresh water, biofilms, multifunctionality, ecological networks, perturbation, fragility
National Category
Ecology Microbiology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Limnology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-160780 (URN)978-91-554-8223-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-12-16, Friessalen, Evolutionary Biology Centre (EBC), Norbyvägen 18, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2011-11-24 Created: 2011-10-31 Last updated: 2012-01-03

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