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. 2016 Sep 16;353(6305):1272-7.
doi: 10.1126/science.aaf4507.

Decoupling Function and Taxonomy in the Global Ocean Microbiome

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Decoupling Function and Taxonomy in the Global Ocean Microbiome

Stilianos Louca et al. Science. .
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Microbial metabolism powers biogeochemical cycling in Earth's ecosystems. The taxonomic composition of microbial communities varies substantially between environments, but the ecological causes of this variation remain largely unknown. We analyzed taxonomic and functional community profiles to determine the factors that shape marine bacterial and archaeal communities across the global ocean. By classifying >30,000 marine microorganisms into metabolic functional groups, we were able to disentangle functional from taxonomic community variation. We find that environmental conditions strongly influence the distribution of functional groups in marine microbial communities by shaping metabolic niches, but only weakly influence taxonomic composition within individual functional groups. Hence, functional structure and composition within functional groups constitute complementary and roughly independent "axes of variation" shaped by markedly different processes.

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