Microbial biogeography: putting microorganisms on the map

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Feb;4(2):102-12. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1341.


We review the biogeography of microorganisms in light of the biogeography of macroorganisms. A large body of research supports the idea that free-living microbial taxa exhibit biogeographic patterns. Current evidence confirms that, as proposed by the Baas-Becking hypothesis, 'the environment selects' and is, in part, responsible for spatial variation in microbial diversity. However, recent studies also dispute the idea that 'everything is everywhere'. We also consider how the processes that generate and maintain biogeographic patterns in macroorganisms could operate in the microbial world.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Archaea*
  • Bacteria*
  • Biodiversity*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Fungi*
  • Geography