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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)
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)
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)
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)
The biogeographic variation of life has predominantly been studied using taxonomy, but this focus is changing. There is a resurging interest in understanding patterns in the distribution not only of taxa but also of the traits those taxa possess. Patterns of trait variation shed light on fundamental questions in biology, including why organisms live where(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)
Genomic approaches to characterizing bacterial communities are revealing significant differences in diversity and composition between environments. But bacterial distributions have not been mapped at a global scale. Although current community surveys are way too sparse to map global diversity patterns directly, there is now sufficient data to fit accurate(More)
INTRODUCTION Similar to other Southern African countries, Swaziland has been severely affected by HIV, with over a quarter of its reproductive-age adults estimated to be living with the virus, equating to an estimate of 170,000 people living with HIV. The last several years have witnessed an increase in the understanding of the potential vulnerabilities(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)