Larger Islands House More Bacterial Taxa

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Science  24 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5730, pp. 1884
DOI: 10.1126/science.1111318

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The power law that describes the relationship between species richness and area size is one of the few generalizations in ecology, but recent studies show that this relationship differs for microbes. We demonstrate that the natural bacterial communities inhabiting small aquatic islands (treeholes) do indeed follow the species-area law. The result requires a re-evaluation of the current understanding of how natural microbial communities operate and implies that analogous processes structure both microbial communities and communities of larger organisms.

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