Chapter 22 : Microbial Endemism and Biogeography

MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

Ebook: Choose a downloadable PDF or ePub file. Chapter is a downloadable PDF file. File must be downloaded within 48 hours of purchase

Buy this Chapter
Digital (?) $15.00

Preview this chapter:
Zoom in

Microbial Endemism and Biogeography, Page 1 of 2

| /docserver/preview/fulltext/10.1128/9781555817770/9781555812676_Chap22-1.gif /docserver/preview/fulltext/10.1128/9781555817770/9781555812676_Chap22-2.gif


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

Key Concept Ranking

Bacteria and Archaea
Yellow fever virus
Transmission Electron Microscopy
Highlighted Text: Show | Hide
Loading full text...

Full text loading...


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
Permissions and Reprints Request Permissions
Download as Powerpoint
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
Permissions and Reprints Request Permissions
Download as Powerpoint


1. Baas-Becking, L. G. M. 1934. Geobiologie of Inleiding Tot de Milieukunde, p. 263. Van Stockkum & Zoon, The Hague: The Netherlands.
2. Brown, J. H.,, and M. V. Lomolino. 1998. Biogeography, 2nd ed. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Mass.
3. Cho, J.-C.,, and J. M. Tiedje. 2000. Biogeography and degree of endemism of fluorescent Pseudomonas strains in soil. Appl. Environ. Microbiol 66:54485456.
4. Cohan, F. M. 2002. What are bacterial species? Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 56:457487.
5. Diamond, J., 1999. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies. W. W. Norton and Co., New York, N.Y.
6. Esteban, G. F.,, B. J. Finlay,, N. Charubhun,, and B. Charubhun. 2001. On the geographic distribution of Loxodes rex (Protozoa, Ciliophora) and other alleged endemic species of ciliates. J. Tool. Lond. 255:139143.
7. Finlay, B. J. 2002. Global dispersal of free-living microbial eukaryote species. Science 296:10611063.
8. Finlay, B. J.,, and K. J. Clarke. 1999. Ubiquitous dispersal of microbial species. Nature 400:828.
9. Finlay, B. J.,, G. F. Esteban,, and T. Fenchel. 1996. Global diversity and body size. Nature 383:132133.
10. Foissner, W. 1999. Protist diversity: estimates of the near-imponderable. Protist 150:363368.
11. Hohn, M. J.,, B. P. Hedlund,, and H. Huber. 2002. Detection of 16S rDNA sequences representing the novel phylum "Nanoarchaeota": indication for a broad distribution in high temperature biotopes. Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 25:551554.
12. Huber, H.,, M. J. Hohn,, R. Rachel,, T. Fuchs,, V. C. Wimmer,, and K. O. Stetter. 2002. A new phylum of Archaea represented by a nanosized hyperthermophilic symbiont. Nature 417:6367.
13. Huber, R.,, P. Stoffers,, J. L. Chemince,, H. H. Richnow,, and K. O. Stetter. 1990. Hyperthermophilic archaebacteria within the crater and open-sea plume of erupting Macdonald Seamount. Nature 345:179181.
14. May, R. M. 1988. How many species are there on earth? Science 241:14411449.
15. Palys, T.,, L. K. Nakamiira,, and F. M. Cohan. 1997. Discovery and classification of ecological diversity in the bacterial world: the role of DNA sequence data. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 47:11451156.
16. Palys, T.,, E. Berger,, I. Mitrica,, L. K. Nakamura,, and F. M. Cohan. 2000. Protein-coding genes as molecular markers for ecologically distinct populations. Int. J. Syst. Environ. Microbiol. 50: 10211028.
17. Roberts, M. S.,, and F. M. Cohan. 1995. Recombination and migration rates in natural populations of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus mojavensis. Evolution 49:10811094.
18. Stackebrandt, E.,, and B. M. Goebel. 1994. Taxonomic note: a place for DNA-DNA reassociation and 16S rRNA sequence analysis in the present species definition in bacteriology. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 44:846849.
19. Staley, J. T.,, and J. J. Gosink. 1999. Poles apart: biodiversity and biogeography of sea ice bacteria. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 53:189215.
20. Stetter, K. O.,, R. Huber,, E. Blöchl,, M. Kurr,, R. D. Eden,, M. Fielder,, H. Cash,, and I. Vance. 1993. Hyperthermophilic archaea are thriving in deep North Sea and Alaskan oil reserves. Nature 365:743745.
21. Wayne, L. G.,, D. J. Brenner,, R. R. Colwell,, P. A. D. Grimont,, O. Kandler,, M. I. Krichevsky,, L. H. Moore,, W. E. C. Moore,, E. Stackebrandt,, M. P. Starr,, and H. G. Truper. 1987. Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on reconciliation of approaches to bacterial systematics. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 37:463464.
22. Whitaker, R.,, D. Grogan,, and J. Taylor. 2002. Biogeographic patterns of divergence between populations of Sulfolobus "islandicus." In Abstracts of the 4th International Congress on Extremophiles 2002, Naples, Italy.
23. Wilkinson, D. M. 2001. What is the upper size limit for cosmopolitan distribution in free-living microorganisms? J. Biogeog. 28:285291.
24. Wilson, E. O. 1992. The Diversity of Life. Belknap Press, Cambridge, Mass.
25. Woese, C. R. 1987. Bacterial evolution. Microbiol. Rev. 51:221271.

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Please check the format of the address you have entered.
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error