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Mol Syst Biol. 2011 Mar 15;7:473. doi: 10.1038/msb.2011.6.

Toward molecular trait-based ecology through integration of biogeochemical, geographical and metagenomic data.

Author information

1
Structural and Computational Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.

Abstract

Using metagenomic 'parts lists' to infer global patterns on microbial ecology remains a significant challenge. To deduce important ecological indicators such as environmental adaptation, molecular trait dispersal, diversity variation and primary production from the gene pool of an ecosystem, we integrated 25 ocean metagenomes with geographical, meteorological and geophysicochemical data. We find that climatic factors (temperature, sunlight) are the major determinants of the biomolecular repertoire of each sample and the main limiting factor on functional trait dispersal (absence of biogeographic provincialism). Molecular functional richness and diversity show a distinct latitudinal gradient peaking at 20° N and correlate with primary production. The latter can also be predicted from the molecular functional composition of an environmental sample. Together, our results show that the functional community composition derived from metagenomes is an important quantitative readout for molecular trait-based biogeography and ecology.

PMID:
21407210
PMCID:
PMC3094067
DOI:
10.1038/msb.2011.6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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