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Species‐sorting and mass‐transfer paradigms control managed natural metacommunities

Günther, Susanne, Faust, Karoline, Schumann, Joachim, Harms, Hauke, Raes, Jeroen, Müller, Susann
Environmental microbiology 2016 v.18 no.12 pp. 4862-4877
high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, mass transfer, microbial communities, models, species diversity
A complex microbial system consisting of six different interconnected localities was thoroughly investigated at full scale for over a year. The metacommunity concept originating from macro‐ecology was used to uncover mechanisms of community assembly by observing microbial interrelationships in and between the different localities via correlation and network analysis. The individual‐based observation approach was applied using high‐throughput microbial community cytometry in addition to next generation sequencing. We found robust α‐diversity values for each of the six localities and high β‐diversity values despite directed connectivity between localities, classifying for endpoint assembly of organisms in each locality. Endpoint characteristics were based on subcommunities with high cell numbers whereas those with lower cell numbers were involved in dispersal. Perturbation caused abiotic parameters to alter local community assembly with especially the rare cells announcing community restructuration processes. The mass‐effect paradigm as part of the metacommunity concept was identified by an increase in interlocality biotic correlations under perturbation which, however, did not unbalance the predominant species‐sorting paradigm in the studied full scale metacommunity. Data as generated in this study might contribute to the development of individual‐based models for controlling managed multispecies natural systems in future.