Transient invaders can induce shifts between alternative stable states of microbial communities
Author(s)Amor, Daniel R.; Ratzke, Christoph; Gore, Jeff
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Microbial dispersal often leads to the arrival of outsider organisms into ecosystems. When their arrival gives rise to successful invasions, outsider species establish within the resident community, which can markedly alter the ecosystem. Seemingly less influential, the potential impact of unsuccessful invaders that interact only transiently with the community has remained largely ignored. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that these transient invasions can induce a lasting transition to an alternative stable state, even when the invader species itself does not survive the transition. First, we develop a mechanistic understanding of how environmental changes caused by these transient invaders can drive a community shift in a simple, bistable model system. Beyond this, we show that transient invaders can also induce switches between stable states in more complex communities isolated from natural soil samples. Our results demonstrate that short-term interactions with an invader species can induce lasting shifts in community composition and function.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Biology; MIT Materials Research Laboratory
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Amor, Daniel R., Christoph Ratzke and Jeff Gore. “Transient invaders can induce shifts between alternative stable states of microbial communities.” Science Advances, 6, 8 (February 2020): eaay8676 © 2020 The Author(s)
Final published version