Episode Summary

Certain bacteria can greatly affect the makeup of a microbial community, even if they quickly disappear!

Thanks to Dr. Daniel Amor for his contribution!

Microbe of the episode

Microbe of the episode: Gadgets Gully virus


Study finds microbes can alter an environment dramatically before dying out

Jesse's takeaways

Microbial communities show more than just competition between species. Stable assemblies of many species can exist for long periods in places like the human gut, despite constant minor shifts in conditions. More major shifts, or invaders like pathogens coming in and taking over, can cause big disruptions in the community and lead to long-term gut dysbiosis, which can be, interestingly, also a stable community. 
This study shows that invaders into a community, even if they don't persist for very long, can cause a shift from one stable state to another, by favoring the dominance of a species or group that was not dominant before, for example by changing the pH of the environment. So competition is always present. This could be helpful to know for efforts to intentionally shift community structures.

Journal Paper

Other interesting stories

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