March 21 2017

11:00 158 HH

This seminar is sponsored by EEB and QCB

Kalin Vestigian
Department of Bacteriology
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Assembly and eco-evolutionary dynamics of communities of antibiotic producing bacteria


How microbial communities assemble and how diversity is generated and maintained are fundamental ecological questions that can be studied through laboratory microcosm experiments and mathematical modeling. These questions are especially exciting and understudied in the context of bacteria that actively remodel their environments by secreting bioactive molecules. We developed a platform for measuring interactions and dynamics in communities of antibiotic producing bacteria from the genus Streptomyces and examined patterns of community assembly. We discovered that bacterial competitive ability does not predict well community assembly outcomes. Instead species that are abundant in a community tend to outcompete less abundant species, resulting in communities with multiple ecological stable states. Furthermore, using multi-scale modeling, we investigated the eco-evolutionary dynamics that results when we allow bacteria to freely evolve their investment into growth, antibiotic production and degradation with respect to multiple antibiotics. We found that the dynamics can readily arrive at long-persistent diverse communities belonging to several different eco-evolutionary classes.