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Chapter 22 : Microbial Endemism and Biogeography

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Microbial Endemism and Biogeography, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

The topic of microbial biogeography is almost 100 years old, however, when confronted with questions about the existence and extent of endemism in the microbial world, many microbiologists respond with opinions and theoretical arguments rather than examples of well-conducted studies. This chapter begins with an overview of this debate as it applies to free-living prokaryotes in part because there are relatively few good microbial biogeography studies. Furthermore, the arguments for microbial endemism and microbial cosmopolitanism help to frame microbial biogeography in the larger context of biodiversity in that if endemism is common, then many more species exist. The chapter discusses some studies on microbial biogeography, which seem to suggest that Finlay's view may be correct on a certain taxonomic level—the protist morphospecies or the prokaryotic genus—but that some microbes have meaningful biogeographies below that level.

Citation: Hedlund B, Staley J. 2004. Microbial Endemism and Biogeography, p 225-231. In Bull A (ed), Microbial Diversity and Bioprospecting. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817770.ch22

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Figures

Image of Figure 1
Figure 1

Conceptual figure showing alternative biogeography and body size models. has proposed that an ubiquity and biodiversity transition occurs at a body length of 1 to 10 mm, which suggests that many protozoa and nearly all prokaryotes are cosmopolitan (solid line). Alternatively, the apparent ubiquity and biodiversity transition may represent the size at which the morphospecies concept decays, and future molecular studies may show that most microbial species have distinct biogeographies, as do larger organisms (dotted line). It is likely that the percentage of microbes with distinct biogeographical patterns lies somewhere between the two extreme models (question mark).

Citation: Hedlund B, Staley J. 2004. Microbial Endemism and Biogeography, p 225-231. In Bull A (ed), Microbial Diversity and Bioprospecting. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817770.ch22
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

Conceptual figure showing the enormous effect of biogeography and body size models on biodiversity estimates. According to , most of the species diversity on this planet would be in the size range of small insects (solid line). Alternatively, extrapolation of the body size and species diversity relationship ( ) to include microbes would yield a vastly greater number of prokaryotic species (dotted line). In reality microbial diversity may lie between the two extremes (question mark).

Citation: Hedlund B, Staley J. 2004. Microbial Endemism and Biogeography, p 225-231. In Bull A (ed), Microbial Diversity and Bioprospecting. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817770.ch22
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References

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