Diversity of Naturally Occurring Prokaryotes
Understanding the patterns of naturally occurring microbial diversity, how these patterns vary in space and time, and how they relate to ecosystem structure and function, remains a significant challenge for microbiologists. A variety of levels of microbial diversity are important and relevant from the perspective of microbial ecology, including trophic, physiological or functional diversity, intraspecific genetic diversity, or phylogenetic diversity of species and higher taxa. For the purpose of this chapter, “diversity” will be used to refer to phylogenetic variety at the level of species and higher taxa. One of the very first tasks necessary for assessing naturally occurring prokaryote diversity is to identify accurately those prokaryotic species predominant in a given habitat. This fundamental goal, representing the basis of understanding of the ecology or natural history of microbes, has rarely, if ever, been achieved for any naturally occurring microbial assemblage. We have a long way to go to catch up with the rest of biology!
KeywordsMicrobial Diversity Delta Proteobacteria Magnetotactic Bacterium Alcaligenes Faecalis Desulfovibrio Desulfuricans
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