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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015 Mar;13(3):133-46. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3417. Epub 2015 Feb 9.

Marine microbial community dynamics and their ecological interpretation.

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Department of Biological Sciences and Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089-0371, USA.


Recent advances in studying the dynamics of marine microbial communities have shown that the composition of these communities follows predictable patterns and involves complex network interactions, which shed light on the underlying processes regulating these globally important organisms. Such 'holistic' (or organism- and system-based) studies of these communities complement popular reductionist, often culture-based, approaches for understanding organism function one gene or protein at a time. In this Review, we summarize our current understanding of marine microbial community dynamics at various scales, from hours to decades. We also explain how the data illustrate community resilience and seasonality, and reveal interactions among microorganisms.

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