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Uncovering the rules of microbial community invasions

Vila, Jean C.C.; Jones, Matt L.; Patel, Matishalin; Bell, Tom; Rosindell, James


Jean C.C. Vila

Matt L. Jones

Tom Bell

James Rosindell


Understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes determining the outcome of biological invasions has been the subject of decades of research with most work focusing on macro-organisms. In the context of microbes, invasions remain poorly understood despite being increasingly recognized as important. To shed light on the factors affecting the success of microbial community invasions, we perform simulations using an individual-based nearly neutral model that combines ecological and evolutionary processes. Our simulations qualitatively recreate many empirical patterns and lead to a description of five general rules of invasion: (1) larger communities evolve better invaders and better defenders; (2) where invader and resident fitness difference is large, invasion success is essentially deterministic; (3) propagule pressure contributes to invasion success, if and only if, invaders and residents are competitively similar; (4) increasing the diversity of invaders has a similar effect to increasing the number of invaders; and (5) more diverse communities more successfully resist invasion.


Vila, J. C., Jones, M. L., Patel, M., Bell, T., & Rosindell, J. (2019). Uncovering the rules of microbial community invasions. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 3(8), 1162-1171.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 24, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 29, 2019
Publication Date Aug 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jun 17, 2024
Journal Nature Ecology and Evolution
Print ISSN 2397-334X
Electronic ISSN 2397-334X
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 8
Pages 1162-1171
Public URL