Forfeiting the priority effect: turnover defines biofilm community succession
AuthorBrislawn, Colin J.; Graham, Emily B.; Dana, Karl; Ihardt, Peter; Fansler, Sarah J.; Chrisler, William B.; Cliff, John B.; Stegen, James C.; Moran, James J.; Bernstein, Hans C.
Microbial community succession is a fundamental process that affects underlying functions of almost all ecosystems; yet the roles and fates of the most abundant colonizers are often poorly understood. Does early abundance spur long term persistence? How do deterministic and stochastic processes influence the ecological contribution of colonizers? We performed a succession experiment within a hypersaline ecosystem to investigate how different processes contributed to the turnover of founder species. Bacterial and eukaryotic colonizers were identified during primary succession and tracked through a defined, 79-day biofilm maturation period using 16S and 18S rRNA gene sequencing in combination with high resolution imaging that utilized stable isotope tracers to evaluate successional patterns of primary producers and nitrogen fixers. The majority of the founder species did not maintain high abundance throughout succession. Species replacement (versus loss) was the dominant process shaping community succession. We also asked if different ecological processes acted on bacteria versus Eukaryotes during succession and found deterministic and stochastic forces corresponded more with microeukaryote and bacterial colonization, respectively. Our results show that taxa and functions belonging to different kingdoms, which share habitat in the tight spatial confines of a biofilm, were influenced by different ecological processes and time scales of succession.
This is a pre-print of an article published in the ISME Journal. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-019-0396-x.