Unbound MEDLINE

The application of ecological theory toward an understanding of the human microbiome.

Abstract

The human-microbial ecosystem plays a variety of important roles in human health and disease. Each person can be viewed as an island-like "patch" of habitat occupied by microbial assemblages formed by the fundamental processes of community ecology: dispersal, local diversification, environmental selection, and ecological drift. Community assembly theory, and metacommunity theory in particular, provides a framework for understanding the ecological dynamics of the human microbiome, such as compositional variability within and between hosts. We explore three core scenarios of human microbiome assembly: development in infants, representing assembly in previously unoccupied habitats; recovery from antibiotics, representing assembly after disturbance; and invasion by pathogens, representing assembly in the context of invasive species. Judicious application of ecological theory may lead to improved strategies for restoring and maintaining the microbiota and the crucial health-associated ecosystem services that it provides.

Links

  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors

    Costello EK, Stagaman K, Dethlefsen L, Bohannan BJ, Relman DA

    Source

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 336:6086 2012 Jun 8 pg 1255-62

    MeSH

    Animals
    Anti-Bacterial Agents
    Bacterial Infections
    Biodiversity
    Ecology
    Ecosystem
    Gastrointestinal Tract
    Host-Pathogen Interactions
    Humans
    Infant, Newborn
    Metagenome
    Selection, Genetic
    Symbiosis

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    22674335