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An Ecological Loop: Host Microbiomes across Multitrophic Interactions
- Liu, Hongwei, Macdonald, Catriona A., Cook, James, Anderson, Ian C., Singh, Brajesh K.
- Trends in ecology & evolution 2019 v.34 no.12 pp. 1118-1130
- beneficial microorganisms, digestive system, ecosystems, environmental health, environmental management, hosts, insects, microbiome, pollination, pollinators, rhizosphere, soil
- Our knowledge of host-associated microorganisms and their role in host functions is rapidly evolving. Stress-affected plants assemble beneficial microbes in their rhizosphere to maximize survival and growth. Similarly, insects have gut microbiomes that extend their functional repertoire in fighting stress. A strong microbial linkage between soil, plants, and pollinators is emerging and this can influence pollination services and overall ecosystem health. Yet, the nature of microbial interactions between different ecosystem components remains poorly understood. Here we highlight the acquisition pathways of beneficial microbes and their functions in protecting hosts against stress. By adopting a new ‘eco-holobiont’ approach, which explicitly incorporates biotic feedbacks, we can significantly expand our ecological understanding and better develop sustainable environmental management.