PerspectiveEcology

Microbes ride the current

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  12 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6202, pp. 1246-1247
DOI: 10.1126/science.1259467

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

How do differences in marine bacterial populations arise in the ocean? On page 1346 of this issue, Hellweger et al. (1) investigate this question with a model based on ocean currents, parameterized with data from the most ubiquitous and abundant ocean bacterium, Pelagibacter. The model assumes that mutations are neutral—that is, they cause no change in the fitness of organisms, so that selection cannot act on them. The results show that neutral processes are enough to generate biogeographical patterns in marine bacteria without any adaptive evolution taking place.