Power law rank-abundance models for marine phage communities

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 Aug;273(2):224-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2007.00790.x. Epub 2007 Jun 7.


Metagenomic analyses suggest that the rank-abundance curve for marine phage communities follows a power law distribution. A new type of power law dependence based on a simple model in which a modified version of Lotka-Volterra predator-prey dynamics is sampled uniformly in time is presented. Biologically, the model embodies a kill the winner hypothesis and a neutral evolution hypothesis. The model can match observed power law distributions and uses very few parameters that are readily identifiable and characterize phage ecosystems. The model makes new untested predictions: (1) it is unlikely that the most abundant phage genotype will be the same at different time points and (2) the long-term decay of isolated phage populations follows a power law.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / growth & development*
  • Ecosystem
  • Models, Biological*
  • Water Microbiology*