Bacterial succession on the leaf surface: a novel system for studying successional dynamics

Amanda J Redford, Noah Fierer
Microbial Ecology 2009, 58 (1): 189-98
Succession is a widely studied process in plant and animal systems, but succession in microbial communities has received relatively little attention despite the ubiquity of microorganisms in natural habitats. One important microbial habitat is the phyllosphere, or leaf surface, which harbors large, diverse populations of bacteria and offers unique opportunities for the study of succession and temporal community assembly patterns. To explore bacterial community successional patterns, we sampled phyllosphere communities on cottonwood (Populus deltoides) trees multiple times across the growing season, from leaf emergence to leaf fall. Bacterial community composition was highly variable throughout the growing season; leaves sampled as little as a week apart were found to harbor significantly different communities, and the temporal variability on a given tree exceeded the variability in community composition between individual trees sampled on a given day. The bacterial communities clearly clustered into early-, mid-, and late-season clusters, with early- and late-season communities being more similar to each other than to the mid-season communities, and these patterns appeared consistent from year to year. Although we observed clear and predictable changes in bacterial community composition during the course of the growing season, changes in phyllosphere bacterial diversity were less predictable. We examined the species-time relationship, a measure of species turnover rate, and found that the relationship was fundamentally similar to that observed in plant and invertebrate communities, just on a shorter time scale. The temporal dynamics we observed suggest that although phyllosphere bacterial communities have high levels of phylogenetic diversity and rapid turnover rates, these communities follow predictable successional patterns from season to season.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"