Ocean plankton. Determinants of community structure in the global plankton interactome

Science. 2015 May 22;348(6237):1262073. doi: 10.1126/science.1262073.


Species interaction networks are shaped by abiotic and biotic factors. Here, as part of the Tara Oceans project, we studied the photic zone interactome using environmental factors and organismal abundance profiles and found that environmental factors are incomplete predictors of community structure. We found associations across plankton functional types and phylogenetic groups to be nonrandomly distributed on the network and driven by both local and global patterns. We identified interactions among grazers, primary producers, viruses, and (mainly parasitic) symbionts and validated network-generated hypotheses using microscopy to confirm symbiotic relationships. We have thus provided a resource to support further research on ocean food webs and integrating biological components into ocean models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Food Chain*
  • Host Specificity
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Phylogeny
  • Plankton / classification*
  • Plankton / physiology*
  • Platyhelminths / classification
  • Platyhelminths / physiology
  • Sunlight
  • Symbiosis*
  • Viruses / classification