Towards a deeper understanding of microbial communities: integrating experimental data with dynamic models

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2021 Jun 4;62:84-92. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2021.05.003. Online ahead of print.


Microbial communities and their functions are shaped by complex networks of interactions among microbes and with their environment. While the critical roles microbial communities play in numerous environments have become increasingly appreciated, we have a very limited understanding of their interactions and how these interactions combine to generate community-level behaviors. This knowledge gap hinders our ability to predict community responses to perturbations and to design interventions that manipulate these communities to our benefit. Dynamic models are promising tools to address these questions. We review existing modeling techniques to construct dynamic models of microbial communities at different scales and suggest ways to leverage multiple types of models and data to facilitate our understanding and engineering of microbial communities.

Publication types

  • Review