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Metacommunity dynamics of the nectar microbiome Event as iCalendar

08 April 2019

1 - 2pm

Venue: Mac 1 Biology Building

Location: 5 Symonds St

Host: SBS

Marion Donald
Marion Donald

Speaker: Marion Donald, PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of BioSciences, Rice University, Texas, USA


Habitat loss and land-use change are major contributors to biodiversity decline worldwide, and these changes often result in patchy landscapes. Communities in these habitats may appear discrete but can be connected to one another through the exchange of immigrants and emigrants, forming a regional metacommunity.

While much theoretical work has been developed for metacommunities, empirical tests, especially ones focusing on patch loss and shifts in environmental context, remain scarce. Microbial communities found in floral nectar provide an excellent system in which to test how changes in environmental context affect metacommunity diversity, as each flower constitutes a discrete patch that is linked to other floral patches, typically through animal visitation.

Using a neotropical nectar microbial metacommunity, Marion Donald and colleagues tested competing hypotheses for how the loss of a specific floral patch-type impacts microbial metacommunity diversity. Analyses revealed a reduction in beta diversity between the intact communities and those affected by patch loss, which is primarily driven by the loss of patch-specific microbiota rather than shifts caused by a reduction in dispersal by hummingbird vectors.