How do microbial communities respond to perturbations?
Starts 20 Oct 2020 15:00
Ends 20 Oct 2020 17:00
Central European Time
Meeting ID: 475-819-702
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Microbial communities play myriad roles in ecosystems, from fixing atmospheric nitrogen, to recycling organic matter to promoting host health. In many cases, e.g. in the human gut ecosystem, these communities display alternative stable states associated to health and dysbiosis. Not only this, but our daily life commonly gives rise to perturbations (changes in diet, infections, or exposure to antibiotics) that can induce community shifts towards alternative stable states. However, the mechanisms driving these shifts are, in general, poorly understood. In this talk, I will introduce an experimental model system that I use to interrogate, quantitatively, microbial community resilience to perturbations and transitions between stable states. I will show that the arrival of an invader species can often trigger transitions between stable states of microbial communities, even if the invader itself does not survive the transition. I will also describe ongoing work in which I expose this model community to antibiotic perturbations. In this case, our theoretical model predicts, and experiments confirmed, that ecological parameters such as growth and migration rates can be more important in determining the response of the community than the specific kind of antibiotics that is being used.