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Does ecosystem size determine aquatic bacterial richness?

Abstract : With the advent of DNA-based molecular technologies, microbial ecologists now have the tools to test whether general ecological patterns apply to microorganisms. In this study, we selected 11 high-mountain lakes from Sierra Nevada (Spain) to test the predictions of island-biogeography theory in relation to ecosystem size and isolation, and to assess the influence of other factors (i.e., ecosystem productivity, resource richness, and biotic interactions) on bacterial community structure. Bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs), generated by denaturing-gradient gel electrophoresis of polymerase chain-reaction-amplified 16S rRNA genes, were used as a surrogate of predominant "biodiversity units." OTU composition among lakes was heterogeneous, and the number of site-specific OTUs was near 50%. Lake remoteness did not affect the number of bacterial OTUs although the spatial distribution of the lakes significantly influenced bacterial composition. Lakes that were closer together had more similar bacterial fingerprints. We found a consistent positive association between bacterial OTU richness and lake area. The slope of this relationship (0.161 +/- 0.026, including literature data) was similar to slopes obtained for organisms with high dispersion rates.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 1:18:43 PM
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I Reche, Elvira Pulido-Villena, R Morales-Baquero, E Casamayor. Does ecosystem size determine aquatic bacterial richness?. Ecology, Ecological Society of America, 2005, pp.1715-1722. ⟨10.1890/04-1587⟩. ⟨hal-00744502⟩



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