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Bowen 2011 ISME resistance resilience functional redundancy

By khof - Posted on 19 September 2011

The ISME Journal (2011) 5, 1540–1548
Microbial community composition in sediments resists perturbation by nutrient enrichment
Jennifer L Bowen et al.

Functional redundancy in bacterial communities is expected to allow microbial assemblages to
survive perturbation by allowing continuity in function despite compositional changes in
communities. Recent evidence suggests, however, that microbial communities change both
composition and function as a result of disturbance. We present evidence for a third response:
resistance. We examined microbial community response to perturbation caused by nutrient
enrichment in salt marsh sediments using deep pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA and functional gene
microarrays targeting the nirS gene. Composition of the microbial community, as demonstrated by
both genes, was unaffected by significant variations in external nutrient supply in our sampling
locations, despite demonstrable and diverse nutrient-induced changes in many aspects of marsh
ecology. The lack of response to external forcing demonstrates a remarkable uncoupling between
microbial composition and ecosystem-level biogeochemical processes and suggests that sediment
microbial communities are able to resist some forms of perturbatio

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