New Approach Helps Determine How Much Microbial Community Composition Is Driven by Selection and How Much by Chance

Quantifying the relative importance of natural selection, migration, and random shifts to a species is a major challenge in ecology research, especially for microbes. This study develops an approach named iCAMP that is based on the concept that different processes can govern different groups of species in a diverse community. Applied to grassland microbial communities, iCAMP revealed that environmental changes altered the relative importance of the ecological processes.

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Compound Communicates More than Expected in Microbes

Microbes use chemical signals to exchange information with their plant hosts. These signals initiate symbiotic associations. Scientists believe some of these chemical signals are unique and are specialized for specific purposes or audiences. One example is the compounds called lipo-chitooligosaccharides (LCOs). Researchers previously believed that LCOs are for specific fungi, but new research shows that these compounds are ubiquitous.

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