Abstract: A grand challenge is to understand how the emergent properties of complex biological communities arise from interactions between the species that are present. Over the last decade tremendous progress has been made in characterizing communities of microorganisms, but the lack of experimentally tractable model systems has made it difficult to discern the principles governing microbial community stability and function. In this talk I will describe our recent experimental efforts to develop a bottom-up approach to understanding the universal dynamics of these communities. Consistent with predictions from theory, we find that microbial communities lose stability when we experimentally increase either the number of species or the strength of interspecies interactions. Our results provide insight into potentially universal behaviors of complex biological communities.
US Mountain Time
Jeff Gore, Massachusetts Institute of Technology