Competition and predation as possible causes of bacterial rarity

Viola Kurm, Wim H. van der Putten, Simone Weidner, Stefan Geisen, Basten L. Snoek, Tanja Bakx, Wilhelmina H. Gera Hol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We assembled communities of bacteria and exposed them to different nutrient concentrations with or without predation by protists. Taxa that were rare in the field were less abundant at low nutrient concentrations than common taxa, independent of predation. However, some taxa that were rare in the field became highly abundant in the assembled communities, especially under ample nutrient availability. This high abundance points at a possible competitive advantage of some rare bacterial taxa under nutrient-rich conditions. In contrast, the abundance of most rare bacterial taxa decreased at low resource availability. Since low resource availability will be the prevailing situation in most soils, our data suggests that under those conditions poor competitiveness for limiting resources may contribute to bacterial rarity. Interestingly, taxa that were rare in the field and most successful under predator-free conditions in the lab also tended to be more reduced by predation than common taxa. This suggests that predation contributes to rarity of bacterial taxa in the field. We further discuss whether there may be a trade-off between competitiveness and predation resistance. The substantial variability among taxa in their responses to competition and predation suggests that other factors, for example abiotic conditions and dispersal ability, also influence the local abundance of soil bacteria.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1356-1368
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

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rarity
predation
Food
Soil
resource availability
Bacteria
competitiveness
nutrient
nutrient content
bacterium
protist
soil bacteria
nutrient availability
trade-off
soil
predator
predators
environmental factors
bacteria
nutrients

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Kurm, Viola ; van der Putten, Wim H. ; Weidner, Simone ; Geisen, Stefan ; Snoek, Basten L. ; Bakx, Tanja ; Gera Hol, Wilhelmina H. / Competition and predation as possible causes of bacterial rarity. In: Environmental Microbiology. 2019 ; Vol. 21, No. 4. pp. 1356-1368.
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abstract = "We assembled communities of bacteria and exposed them to different nutrient concentrations with or without predation by protists. Taxa that were rare in the field were less abundant at low nutrient concentrations than common taxa, independent of predation. However, some taxa that were rare in the field became highly abundant in the assembled communities, especially under ample nutrient availability. This high abundance points at a possible competitive advantage of some rare bacterial taxa under nutrient-rich conditions. In contrast, the abundance of most rare bacterial taxa decreased at low resource availability. Since low resource availability will be the prevailing situation in most soils, our data suggests that under those conditions poor competitiveness for limiting resources may contribute to bacterial rarity. Interestingly, taxa that were rare in the field and most successful under predator-free conditions in the lab also tended to be more reduced by predation than common taxa. This suggests that predation contributes to rarity of bacterial taxa in the field. We further discuss whether there may be a trade-off between competitiveness and predation resistance. The substantial variability among taxa in their responses to competition and predation suggests that other factors, for example abiotic conditions and dispersal ability, also influence the local abundance of soil bacteria.",
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Competition and predation as possible causes of bacterial rarity. / Kurm, Viola; van der Putten, Wim H.; Weidner, Simone; Geisen, Stefan; Snoek, Basten L.; Bakx, Tanja; Gera Hol, Wilhelmina H.

In: Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 21, No. 4, 01.04.2019, p. 1356-1368.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - van der Putten, Wim H.

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AB - We assembled communities of bacteria and exposed them to different nutrient concentrations with or without predation by protists. Taxa that were rare in the field were less abundant at low nutrient concentrations than common taxa, independent of predation. However, some taxa that were rare in the field became highly abundant in the assembled communities, especially under ample nutrient availability. This high abundance points at a possible competitive advantage of some rare bacterial taxa under nutrient-rich conditions. In contrast, the abundance of most rare bacterial taxa decreased at low resource availability. Since low resource availability will be the prevailing situation in most soils, our data suggests that under those conditions poor competitiveness for limiting resources may contribute to bacterial rarity. Interestingly, taxa that were rare in the field and most successful under predator-free conditions in the lab also tended to be more reduced by predation than common taxa. This suggests that predation contributes to rarity of bacterial taxa in the field. We further discuss whether there may be a trade-off between competitiveness and predation resistance. The substantial variability among taxa in their responses to competition and predation suggests that other factors, for example abiotic conditions and dispersal ability, also influence the local abundance of soil bacteria.

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