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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2000 Feb 1;31(2):99-106.

Comparative analyses in aquatic microbial ecology: how far do they go?

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Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Pg. Joan de Borbó s/n, E08039, Barcelona, Spain


Methodological developments in recent years have led to an increase in empirical databases on the abundance and functions of aquatic microbes, now allowing synthesis studies. Most of these studies have adopted a comparative approach, such that comparative analyses are now available for most aspects of aquatic microbial food webs (more than 50 papers published in the last 15 years). Some of these analyses apparently yield conflicting results, introducing confusion and unnecessary disputes in the field. We briefly review the comparative analyses so far produced and we highlight generalities, show that some of the perceived discrepancies largely derive from partial analyses of a general underlying trend and formulate predictions based on these general trends that provide new avenues for research.

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