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Community assembly is a central topic in microbial ecology: how do assembly processes interact and what is the relative contribution of stochasticity and determinism? Here, we exposed replicate flow-through biofilm systems, fed with nitrite-supplemented tap water, to continuous immigration from a source community, present in the tap water, to determine the extent of selection and neutral processes in newly assembled biofilm communities at both the community and the functional guild (of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, NOB) levels. The community composition of biofilms assembled under low and high nitrite loading was described after 40 days of complete nitrite removal. The total community assembly, as well as the NOB guild assembly were largely governed by a combination of deterministic and stochastic processes. Furthermore, we observed deterministic enrichment of certain types of NOB in the biofilms. Specifically, elevated nitrite loading selected for a single Nitrotoga representative, while lower nitrite conditions selected for a number of Nitrospira. Therefore, even when focusing on ecologically coherent ensembles, assembly is the result of complex stochastic and deterministic processes that can only be interrogated by observing multiple assemblies under controlled conditions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2785–2793
StatePublished - 2017
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 1
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ID: 132846755