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Resistance and resilience of microbial communities: temporal and spatial insurance against perturbations
Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
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.
2012 (English)In: Environmental Microbiology, ISSN 1462-2912, E-ISSN 1462-2920, Vol. 14, no 9, 2283-2292 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Bacteria play fundamental roles for many ecosystem processes; however, little empirical evidence is available on how environmental perturbations affect their composition and function. We investigated how spatial and temporal refuges affect the resistance and resilience of a freshwater bacterioplankton community upon a salinity pulse perturbation in continuous cultures. Attachment to a surface avoided the flushing out of cells and enabled re-colonization of the liquid phase after the perturbation, hence serving as a temporal refuge. A spatial refuge was established by introduction of bacteria from an undisturbed reservoir upstream of the continuous culture vessel, acting analogous to a regional species pool in a metacommunity. The salinity pulse affected bacterial community composition and the rates of respiration and the pattern of potential substrate utilization as well as the correlation between composition and function. Compared with the no-refuge treatment, the temporal refuge shortened return to pre-perturbation conditions, indicating enhanced community resilience. Composition and function were less disturbed in the treatment providing a spatial refuge, suggesting higher resistance. Our results highlight that spatial and temporal dynamics in general and refuges in particular need to be considered for conceptual progress in how microbial metacommunities are shaped by perturbations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 14, no 9, 2283-2292 p.
National Category
Ecology Microbiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-160777DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2012.02754.xISI: 000308300600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-160777DiVA: diva2:452855
Available from: 2011-10-31 Created: 2011-10-31 Last updated: 2012-10-08Bibliographically 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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