The Spatial Distribution of Microbes in the Environment

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Rima Franklin, Aaron Mills
Springer Science & Business Media, Sep 4, 2007 - Science - 333 pages
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In my first microbiology class in 1968, Richard Wodzinki opened his first lecture with “Wodzinski’s Laws of Bacteriology. ” Those laws were (1) Bacteria are very very small, (2) Bacteria are our friends, and (3) Bacteria always have the last word. These simple statements motivated a career of curiosity, and started me on a wild ride of discovery with my miniscule colleagues. The realization that an entity so tiny could mediate critical ecological p- cesses observed across scales of kilometers begs for an explanation of how populations and communities are distributed within those large spaces. How big is a microbial community? Where does one stop and another start? Are there rules of organization of the communities into spatially discrete patches, and can those patches be correlated with observed processes and process rates? Over the years I have added what I tell my classes are “Mills’ Corrolaries to Wodzinski’s Laws. ” With respect to the topic of this volume, the corollaries to the first law are: (1a) But there are a whole lot of them, and (1b) They can grow very very fast. Again, distribution in space and time is a central theme, and it has motivated much of my effort over the last 30 years.

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