Microbes are embedded in complex communities where they engage in a wide array of intra- and inter-specific interactions. The extent to which these interactions drive or impede microbiome diversity is not well understood. Historically, two contrasting hypotheses have been suggested to explain how species interactions could influence diversity. 'Ecological Controls' (EC) predicts a negative relationship, where the evolution or migration of novel types is constrained as niches become filled. In contrast, 'Diversity Begets Diversity' (DBD) predicts a positive relationship, with existing diversity promoting the accumulation of further diversity via niche construction and other interactions. Using high-throughput amplicon sequencing data from the Earth Microbiome Project, we provide evidence that DBD is strongest in low-diversity biomes, but weaker in more diverse biomes, consistent with biotic interactions initially favoring the accumulation of diversity (as predicted by DBD). However, as niches become increasingly filled, diversity hits a plateau (as predicted by EC).
All data is available from the Earth Microbiome Project (ftp.microbio.me), as detailed in the Methods. All computer code used for analysis are available at https://github.com/Naima16/dbd.git.
- B. Jesse Shapiro
- B. Jesse Shapiro
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Detlef Weigel, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany
© 2020, Madi et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
How the ecological process of community assembly interacts with intra-species diversity and evolutionary change is a longstanding question. Two contrasting hypotheses have been proposed: Diversity Begets Diversity (DBD), in which taxa tend to become more diverse in already diverse communities, and Ecological Controls (EC), in which higher community diversity impedes diversification. Previously, using 16S rRNA gene amplicon data across a range of microbiomes, we showed a generally positive relationship between taxa diversity and community diversity at higher taxonomic levels, consistent with the predictions of DBD (Madi et al., 2020). However, this positive 'diversity slope' plateaus at high levels of community diversity. Here we show that this general pattern holds at much finer genetic resolution, by analyzing intra-species strain and nucleotide variation in static and temporally sampled metagenomes from the human gut microbiome. Consistent with DBD, both intra-species polymorphism and strain number were positively correlated with community Shannon diversity. Shannon diversity is also predictive of increases in polymorphism over time scales up to ~4-6 months, after which the diversity slope flattens and becomes negative – consistent with DBD eventually giving way to EC. Finally, we show that higher community diversity predicts gene loss at a future time point. This observation is broadly consistent with the Black Queen Hypothesis, which posits that genes with functions provided by the community are less likely to be retained in a focal species' genome. Together, our results show that a mixture of DBD, EC, and Black Queen may operate simultaneously in the human gut microbiome, adding to a growing body of evidence that these eco-evolutionary processes are key drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem function.
Volatiles emitted by herbivore-attacked plants (senders) can enhance defenses in neighboring plants (receivers), however, the temporal dynamics of this phenomenon remain poorly studied. Using a custom-built, high-throughput proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) system, we explored temporal patterns of volatile transfer and responses between herbivore-attacked and undamaged maize plants. We found that continuous exposure to natural blends of herbivore-induced volatiles results in clocked temporal response patterns in neighboring plants, characterized by an induced terpene burst at the onset of the second day of exposure. This delayed burst is not explained by terpene accumulation during the night, but coincides with delayed jasmonate accumulation in receiver plants. The delayed burst occurs independent of day:night light transitions and cannot be fully explained by sender volatile dynamics. Instead, it is the result of a stress memory from volatile exposure during the first day and secondary exposure to bioactive volatiles on the second day. Our study reveals that prolonged exposure to natural blends of stress-induced volatiles results in a response that integrates priming and direct induction into a distinct and predictable temporal response pattern. This provides an answer to the long-standing question of whether stress volatiles predominantly induce or prime plant defenses in neighboring plants, by revealing that they can do both in sequence.