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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 Aug;273(2):224-8. Epub 2007 Jun 7.

Power law rank-abundance models for marine phage communities.

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Physics Institute, Technical University of Chemnitz, Chemnitz, Germany.


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.

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