Microbial communities play pivotal roles in ecosystems across different scales, from global elemental cycles to household food fermentations. These complex assemblies comprise hundreds or thousands of microbial species whose abundances vary over time and space. Unraveling the principles that guide their dynamics at different levels of biological organization, from individual species, their interactions, to complex microbial communities, is a major challenge. To what extent are these different levels of organization governed by separate principles, and how can we connect these levels to develop predictive models for the dynamics and function of microbial communities?
In a new perspective piece, Matti discusses recent advances that point towards principles of microbial communities, rooted in various disciplines from physics, biochemistry, and dynamical systems. By focusing on principles that transcend specific microbiomes, we can pave the way for a comprehensive understanding of microbial community dynamics and the development of predictive models for diverse ecosystems.
“Searching for Principles of Microbial Ecology Across Levels of Biological Organization” is now published in Integrative and Comparative Biology (https://academic.oup.com/icb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/icb/icad060/7191255)