Microbial Ecology - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123694911, 9780080511542

Microbial Ecology

1st Edition

An Evolutionary Approach

Authors: J McArthur
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123694911
eBook ISBN: 9780080511542
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st February 2006
Page Count: 432
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Based on the thesis that insights into both evolution and ecology can be obtained through the study of microorganismsm, Microbial Ecology examines microbiology through the lens of evolutionary ecology. Measured from a microbial perspective, this text covers such topics as optimal foraging, genome, reduction, novel evolutionary mechanisms, bacterial speciation, and r and K selection. Numerous aspects of microbial existence are also discussed and include: species competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism, microbial communication through quorum sensing and other . The result is a context for understanding microbes in nature and a framework for microbiologists working in industry, medicine, and the environment.

Key Features

  • Applies evolutionary ecological concepts to microbes
  • Addresses individual, population and community ecology
  • Presents species concepts and offers insights on the origin of life and modern microbial ecology
  • Examines topics such as species interactions, nutrient cycling, quorum sensing and cheating


Students in ecology of microorganisms. Prerequisite would be a general microbiology course. Readers of the following journals: Appllied and Environmental Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, Environmental Microbiology, Ecology, FEMS Microbial Ecology, Ecological Society of America, etc.

Table of Contents

Section 1 Ecology and Evolution
Chapter 1 Core Concepts in Studying Ecology and Evolution
1.1 The beginnings of microbiology
1.2 Viruses
1.3 Bacteria
1.3.1. Photosynthetic Bacteria
1.3.2 Gliding bacteria
1.3.3 Sheathed Bacteria
1.3.4 Budding and Prosthecate Bacteria
1.3.5 Spirochetes
1.3.6 Spiral and Curved Bacteria
1.3.7 Strictly Aerobic Gram-negative Rods
1.3.8 Facultative Anaerobic Gram-negative Rods
1.3.9 Strictly Anaerobic Gram-negative Rods
1.3.10 Nonphotosynthetic Autotrophic Bacteria
1.3.11 Gram-negative Cocci
1.3.12 Gram-positive Cocci
1.3.13 Endospore forming Bacteria
1.3.14 Nonspore-forming Gram-Positive Rods
1.3.15 Branching bacteria
1.3.16 Obligate Intracellular Bacteria
1..4 Ecology becomes a science
1.5 Evolution
1.5.1 Natural selection
1.5.2 Patterns of Selection
1.6 Evolutionary ecology
Chapter 2 Molecules and origins of life
2.1 Chemistry of life
2.1.1 Water
2.1.2 Biological Elements
2.2 Early Atmosphere and the beginnings of life
2.2.1 Miller Flask Experiment
2.2.2 Which molecule came first?
2.2.3 Genes first models
2.2.4 Proteins first models
2.2.5 Dual origin models
Chapter 3 Species concepts and speciation
3.1 Universal Species Concept
3.2 Biological Species Concept
3.3 Phenetic and Related Species Concepts
3.4 Evolutionary Species Concept
3.5 Phylogenetic Species Concept
3.6 Bacterial Taxonomy
3.7 Bacterial Species Concepts
3.7.1 Applica


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About the Author

J McArthur

Dr. J Vaun McArthur's research interests are quite diverse and span scales from ecological genetics to bacteria to ecosystem level studies with occasional forays into population and communicty ecology of invertebratesa nd microbes. His current emphasis is on the role of indirect selection in the spread of antibiotic resistance in aquatic (freshwater and marine) bacteria. He has taugh General Zoology, Biology, Ecology, Microbial Ecology, Microbiology, Environmental Science, and Limnology. He holds adjunct faculty appointments at the Institute of Ecology at UGA and the Department of Entomology at Clemson University.

Affiliations and Expertise

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, Aiken, South Carolina, U.S.A.


"The author does an excellent job in describing fundamental concepts in evolutionary ecology and discussing how these concepts may apply to microorganisms in natural environments. It is unique in that it focuses on general ecological and evolutionary principles instead of rehashing information that could be found in current microbiology textbooks. This book would be most appropriate for readers that already have a solid background in microbiology and are interested in exploring the emerging field of microbial ecology." - Noah Fierer, University of Colorado, in ECOLOGY "Even medical microbiologists, who still isolate and study pathogens in pure culture, now, recognize that we can truly fathom microbial life only studying heterogeneous, evolving communities of microorganisms. Vaun McArthur set out to portray this wider reality, and has succeeded..." - Bernard Dixon in BIOLOGIST