Nutrient availability and grazing influence the strength of priority effects during freshwater bacterial community coalescence.

Lumpi T, Guo X, Lindström ES

Environ. Microbiol. 25 (11) 2289-2302 [2023-11-00; online 2023-06-28]

When bacterial communities mix, immigration history can fundamentally affect the community composition as a result of priority effects. Priority effects arise when an early immigrant exhausts resources and/or alters habitat conditions, thereby influencing the establishment success of the late arriver. The strength of priority effects is context-dependent and expected to be stronger if environmental conditions favour the growth of the first arriver. In this study, we conducted a two-factorial experiment testing the importance of nutrient availability and grazing on the strength of priority effects in complex aquatic bacterial communities. We did so by mixing two dissimilar communities, simultaneously, and with a 38 h time-delay. Priority effects were measured as the invasion resistance of the first community to the invading second community. We found stronger priority effects in treatments with high nutrient availability and absence of grazing, but in general, the arrival timing was less important than the selection by nutrients and grazing. At the population level, the results were complex, but priority effects may have been driven by bacteria belonging to for example, the genera Rhodoferax and Herbaspirillum. Our study highlights the importance of arrival timing in complex bacterial communities, especially if environmental conditions favour rapid community growth.

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PubMed 37381117

DOI 10.1111/1462-2920.16450

Crossref 10.1111/1462-2920.16450

Publications 9.5.0