Modulation of microbial community dynamics by spatial partitioning.


Microbial communities inhabit spatial architectures that divide a global environment into isolated or semi-isolated local environments, which leads to the partitioning of a microbial community into a collection of local communities. Despite its ubiquity and great interest in related processes, how and to what extent spatial partitioning affects the structures and dynamics of microbial communities are poorly understood. Using modeling and quantitative experiments with simple and complex microbial communities, we demonstrate that spatial partitioning modulates the community dynamics by altering the local interaction types and global interaction strength. Partitioning promotes the persistence of populations with negative interactions but suppresses those with positive interactions. For a community consisting of populations with both positive and negative interactions, an intermediate level of partitioning maximizes the overall diversity of the community. Our results reveal a general mechanism underlying the maintenance of microbial diversity and have implications for natural and engineered communities.






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Publication Info

Wu, Feilun, Yuanchi Ha, Andrea Weiss, Meidi Wang, Jeffrey Letourneau, Shangying Wang, Nan Luo, Shuquan Huang, et al. (2022). Modulation of microbial community dynamics by spatial partitioning. Nature chemical biology, 18(4). pp. 394–402. 10.1038/s41589-021-00961-w Retrieved from

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Charlotte Lee

Scholar in Residence of Biology

Lawrence Anthony David

Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

Lingchong You

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

The You lab uses a combination of mathematical modeling, machine learning, and quantitative experiments to elucidate principles underlying the dynamics of microbial communities in time and space and to control these dynamics for applications in computation, engineering, and medicine.

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