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Characterizing mixed microbial population dynamics using time-series analysis

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Kjetil Aune

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kjetil.aune@nofima.no

The ISME Journal ; Volume 2. p. 707–715. 2008

Trosvik, Pål; Rudi, Knut; Næs, Tormod; Kohler, Achim; Chan, Kai-Ming; Jakobsen, Kjetill Sigurd; Stenseth, Nils Christian

Due to a general shortage of temporal population data, dynamic structures in microbial communities remain largely unexplored. Knowledge of community dynamics is, however, essential for understanding the mechanisms by which microbes interact. Here, we have used a computational approach for quantification of bacteria in multispecies populations, generating data for time-series modeling. Moreover, we have used online FR-IR spectroscopy to monitor the main metabolic processes. The approach enabled us to provide a functional description of the parameters governing the population dynamics in a three-species model bacterial community, demonstrating density-dependent regulation, interspecies competition and even a case of cooperation between two species. Since the field of microbial ecology has yet to embrace many of the concepts and methods developed for the study of ecology of higher plants and animals, the realization that microbial systems can be analyzed within the same conceptual framework as other ecosystems is of fundamental importance.