Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 May 10;108(19):7850-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016308108. Epub 2011 Apr 25.

Drivers of bacterial beta-diversity depend on spatial scale.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


The factors driving β-diversity (variation in community composition) yield insights into the maintenance of biodiversity on the planet. Here we tested whether the mechanisms that underlie bacterial β-diversity vary over centimeters to continental spatial scales by comparing the composition of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria communities in salt marsh sediments. As observed in studies of macroorganisms, the drivers of salt marsh bacterial β-diversity depend on spatial scale. In contrast to macroorganism studies, however, we found no evidence of evolutionary diversification of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria taxa at the continental scale, despite an overall relationship between geographic distance and community similarity. Our data are consistent with the idea that dispersal limitation at local scales can contribute to β-diversity, even though the 16S rRNA genes of the relatively common taxa are globally distributed. These results highlight the importance of considering multiple spatial scales for understanding microbial biogeography.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances, Secondary Source ID

Publication Types

MeSH Terms


Secondary Source ID

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center