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We review the biogeography of microorganisms in light of the biogeography of macroorganisms. A large body of research supports the idea that free-living microbial taxa exhibit biogeographic patterns. Current evidence confirms that, as proposed by the Baas-Becking hypothesis, 'the environment selects' and is, in part, responsible for spatial variation in(More)
Power-law frequency distributions characterize a wide array of natural phenomena. In ecology, biology, and many physical and social sciences, the exponents of these power laws are estimated to draw inference about the processes underlying the phenomenon, to test theoretical models, and to scale up from local observations to global patterns. Therefore, it is(More)
Species abundance distributions (SADs) follow one of ecology's oldest and most universal laws--every community shows a hollow curve or hyperbolic shape on a histogram with many rare species and just a few common species. Here, we review theoretical, empirical and statistical developments in the study of SADs. Several key points emerge. (i) Literally dozens(More)
For two centuries, biologists have documented a gradient of animal and plant biodiversity from the tropics to the poles but have been unable to agree whether it is controlled primarily by productivity, temperature, or historical factors. Recent reports that find latitudinal diversity gradients to be reduced or absent in some unicellular organisms and(More)
The abundance of different SSU rRNA ("16S") gene sequences in environmental samples is widely used in studies of microbial ecology as a measure of microbial community structure and diversity. However, the genomic copy number of the 16S gene varies greatly - from one in many species to up to 15 in some bacteria and to hundreds in some microbial eukaryotes.(More)
Species spatial turnover, or beta-diversity, induces a decay of community similarity with geographic distance known as the distance-decay relationship. Although this relationship is central to biodiversity and biogeography, its theoretical underpinnings remain poorly understood. Here, we develop a general framework to describe how the distance-decay(More)
  • James I Prosser, Brendan J M Bohannan, Tom P Curtis, Richard J Ellis, Mary K Firestone, Rob P Freckleton +8 others
  • 2007
Microbial ecology is currently undergoing a revolution, with repercussions spreading throughout microbiology, ecology and ecosystem science. The rapid accumulation of molecular data is uncovering vast diversity, abundant uncultivated microbial groups and novel microbial functions. This accumulation of data requires the application of theory to provide(More)
The study of elevational diversity gradients dates back to the foundation of biogeography. Although elevational patterns of plant and animal diversity have been studied for centuries, such patterns have not been reported for microorganisms and remain poorly understood. Here, in an effort to assess the generality of elevational diversity patterns, we(More)
Buildings are complex ecosystems that house trillions of microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans and with their environment. Understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that determine the diversity and composition of the built environment microbiome--the community of microorganisms that live indoors--is important for(More)
Polymicrobial bronchopulmonary infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) cause progressive lung damage and death. Although the arrival of Pseudomonas aeruginosa often heralds a more rapid rate of pulmonary decline, there is significant inter-individual variation in the rate of decline, the causes of which remain poorly understood. By coupling culture-independent(More)