About this Research Topic
Roughly 1030 prokaryotic cells inhabit our planet. These microbes dominate various habitats and play key roles in a variety of different events, ranging from biogeochemical cycles, plant, animal and human health, to industrial processes. Most of these microorganisms live and act in communities and their interactions vary from mutualistic to competitive. The nature of such dynamic relationships, together with environmental factors and viral predation, greatly determine the assembly and evolution of such communities, thereby influencing their ecological function and services. However, many of these phenomena remain still poorly understood. Thanks to technological advances, we are recently starting to explore long-standing problems such as the extent of intra- and inter-species diversity within microbial communities, how these form, organize and evolve.
This Research Topic will gather contributions that seek to advance the understanding of the mechanisms driving the assembly and evolution of microbial communities in their natural (e.g. soil, plants, animals, etc.) or industrial ecosystems (e.g. food industry, wastewater, etc.). Specifically, we are interested in showcasing the latest advances in microbial community ecology, functional genomics, experimental evolution and theoretical modelling.
This Research Topic aims at gathering a mix of original research (observational, experimental and theoretical studies) and other types of contributions (e.g. perspectives, reviews, mini-reviews, and opinion articles) focused on the following themes:
- The establishment, function and evolution of microbial communities in different natural ecosystems (marine microbes, plant-animal-human/microbe interactions, industry, etc.)
- The connection between microbial evolution and community ecology (e.g. follow the evolution of whole communities or focal species in both community and monoculture settings)
- The link between environmental factors and microbial evolution within communities. Such environmental factors can range from physical/chemical characteristics in free-living communities to diet and immune response in host-associated communities
- The role of migration/transmission in shaping community composition
- How the community context affects key evolutionary parameters (e.g. rate of adaptation, strength of genetic drift, distribution fitness effects of mutations, mutation and recombination rates)
- Methods, experimental systems and approaches to change and control microbial communities (e.g. in plant, animal or human disease)
Keywords: microbial communities, microbial adaptation, synthetic communities, interspecies horizontal gene transfer, eco-evolutionary dynamics
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.