Biofilm community succession: A neutral perspective

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Journal Article
Microbiology (United Kingdom), 2017, 163 (5), pp. 664 - 668
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© 2017 The Authors. Although biofilms represent one of the dominant forms of life in aqueous environments, our understanding of the assembly and development of their microbial communities remains relatively poor. In recent years, several studies have addressed this and have extended the concepts of succession theory in classical ecology into microbial systems. From these datasets, niche-based conceptual models have been developed explaining observed biodiversity patterns and their dynamics. These models have not, however, been formulated mathematically and so remain untested. Here, we further develop spatially resolved neutral community models and demonstrate that these can also explain these patterns and offer alternative explanations of microbial succession. The success of neutral models suggests that stochastic effects alone may have a much greater influence on microbial community succession than previously acknowledged. Furthermore, such models are much more readily parameterised and can be used as the foundation of more complex and realistic models of microbial community succession.
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