Track: Organized Oral Session
Global change factors can alter the direction and strength of organism movement across ecosystems and biome types. Although largely unseen, microorganisms are likely common immigrants across these ecotones. However, we lack a basic understanding of microbial community mixing across many key ecosystem boundaries on Earth, including land and water, groundwater and surface water, freshwater and saltwater. Recent research has highlighted the importance of cell movement between terrestrial and aquatic habitats. The variable strength of this connectivity, its contribution to community dynamics, and potential impact on ecosystem functions, however, are still largely undefined. By focusing on microbial dynamics at habitat interfaces, we may derive useful generalizable predictions for the impact of microbial connectivity. For example, invasion and metacommunity models recognize the importance of propagule pressure and dispersal to establishment and community structure. For microorganisms able to live in both environments, connectivity may be the most effective direct control on their importance in both ecosystems. Microbial community structure is increasingly recognized as critical to the provision of resilient ecosystem services in a changing world, including biodiversity maintenance, agricultural productivity, and water quality. The development of methods used to detect microbes in both systems, combined with microorganisms’ multiple life stages and penchant for extended dormancy add ongoing challenges to understand the impact of microbial community connectivity across ecotone boundaries. This session will pull together a variety of perspectives on the topic with the goal of identifying commonalities and new opportunities for synthesis. Specifically, we bring together researchers representing perspectives in microbial metacommunities, hydrological connectivity, and shifting ecosystem boundaries in multiple contexts, to help build a new focus on microbial movement across Earth’s dynamic modern landscape.
Presenting Author: Sara L. Jackrel – University of California San Diego
Presenting Author: Raven L. Bier – Savannah River Ecology Lab, University of Georgia
Presenting Author: Lydia H. Zeglin – Division of Biology, Kansas State University
Presenting Author: Ashley Shade – Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University
Presenting Author: Nathan I. Wisnoski – WyGISC, University of Wyoming
Presenting Author: Emily Graham – School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University