Microbial Ecology

Microbial Ecology

An Evolutionary Approach

1st Edition - February 1, 2006

Write a review

  • Author: J McArthur
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080511542
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123694911

Purchase options

Purchase options
DRM-free (PDF)
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out

Institutional Subscription

Free Global Shipping
No minimum order


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 Application of the Phenetic Species concept to bacteria
    3.7.2 Application of the phylogenetic species concept
    3.8 Speciation
    3.9 Bacterial Speciation
    3.10 Mismatch Repair as a speciation mechanism
    3.11 Rapid Speciation?
    3.12 Operons
    3.12 Genome economization and speciation
    3.13 Hypermutation
    3.14 Genome Reduction
    Section 2 Ecology of Individuals
    Chapter 4 The individual
    4.1 What is an individual?
    4.2 Study of Individuals
    4.3 Study of Individual Microorganisms
    4.4 Genetic Individuals
    4.5 Ramets
    4.6 Ecological Individual
    4.7 Niche
    4.7.1 Abiotic Constraints
    Chapter 5 Growth and Feeding
    5.1 Growth and surface to volume ratios
    5.2 Ecology of Feeding
    5.3 Metabolic Energy
    5.4 Role of Carbon
    5.5 Microbial Feeding Strategies
    5.6 Costs of Feeding
    5.7 Generalists and Specialists
    5.8 Optimal Foraging and Microbes
    5.9 Cheating
    5.10 Free-living microorganisms
    5.11 Food Chains and Webs
    5.12 Fermentations
    Chapter 6 Ecology of Sex
    6.1 Reproductive Ecology
    6.2 Microbial Reproduction
    6.2.1 Conjugation
    6.2.2 Transposons
    6.2.3 Transformation
    6.2.4 Transduction
    6.3 Advantages and Disadvantages of Sex
    6.4 Rate of Reproduction
    6.5 Plasmids and extra-chromosomal DNA
    6.6 When would plasmids be favorable?
    6.6.1 Genes on Plasmids
    6.6.2 Plasmids in streams
    6.6.3 Plasmids in lakes
    6.6.4 Hot spots for plasmids transfer
    6.7 Transformation in nature
    Section 3 Living Together in Populations
    Chapter 7 Fundamentals of microbial population ecology
    7.1 Introduction
    7. 2 Properties of populations
    7.2.1 Density
    7.2.2 Natality and fecundity
    7.2.3 Mortality, longevity and senescence
    7.2.4 Immigration and emigration
    7. 3 Microbial population ecology
    7.3.1 Population growth
    7.3.2 Density dependence and independence
    7.3.3 r and K selection
    Chapter 8 Metapopulations, Multicellularity, and Modular Growth
    8.1 Metapopulations
    8.2 Dispersal
    8.3 Modularity
    8.4 Source and Sinks
    8.5 Population ecology of genes
    8.6 Sources of phenotypic and genotypic variation
    8.7 Sources of genic and chromosomal genetic variation
    8.8 Gene Ecology
    Chapter 9 Effects of Habitats, Genome size, Diversity and Bacterial Communication on population processes
    9.1 Habitats
    9.2 Genome Size and Genetic Diversity
    9.3 Feeding ecology and Modular growth
    9.4 Intercellular Communication
    9.5 Clones or sex?
    9.6 Bacterial Sex
    Chapter 10 Population Spatial Stability
    10.1 Uniformity of Populations
    10.2 Adaptation
    10.3 Populations in Time
    10.4 Bacterial communication: Do microbes talk to each other?
    10.5 Quorum Sensing and Infections
    10.5.1 Evolutionary implication of Quorum sensing
    10.5.2 Cell-cell communication in bacteria
    10.5.3 Quorum sensing and evolution
    10.5.4 Disruption or manipulation of quorum sensing response
    10.5.5 Eavesdropping by bacteria
    10.5.6 Quorum sensing – final thoughts
    10.6 Cannibalism, miniaturization and other ways to beat tough times
    10.6.1 Oligotrophic state of nature
    10.6.2 Starvation-survival
    10.6.3 Ageing and senescence and death
    10.6.4 Dormancy or resting state and miniaturization
    10.7 Taxis – light, chemicals, water, and temperature
    Section 4 Living Together in Communities
    Chapter 11 Characteristics of Communities and Diversity
    11.1 Community Structure and Energetics
    11.2 Species Diversity
    11.3 Maintenance of Species Diversity
    11.4 Origin and Maintenance of Communities
    11.5 Effect of diversity on ecosystem services
    11.6 Molecular Techniques and Microbial Community Ecology
    11.6.1 Methods based on DNA/RNA
    11.6.2 Methods based on Fatty Acids or Lipids
    11.6.3 Methods based on Function/Physiology
    11.7 Successional Theory
    11.8 Abiotic Mechanisms of Dispersal
    11.9 Community Development
    11.10 Seasonality
    Chapter 12 Concepts in Community Ecology
    12.1 Open Water Communities
    12.2 Biofilm Communities
    12.3 Phylogenetics and community ecology
    12.4 Soil Communities
    12.5 Oral Communities
    12.6 Functional Diversity
    12.7 Niche Constructionists
    Chapter 13 Microbes and the processing of Nutrients
    13.1 Nutrient Cycling
    13.2 Nitrogen Cycle
    13.2.1 Fixation in Soils
    13.2.2 Denitrification
    13.2.3 Nitrification
    13.2.4. Nitrogen transformation summary
    13.3 Sulfur Biogechemcial Transformations
    13.4 Carbon Cycling
    13.5 Information Spiraling
    13.6 Geostatistics and the spatial patterns of microbes
    Chapter 14 Species Interactions and Processes
    14.1 Species Interactions
    14.2 Proliferation Hypothesis
    14.3 Negative relationships
    14.3.1 Parasitism
    14.3.2 Predation
    Satiating the Predator
    14.3.4 Bacteria and viral interactions
    14.3.5 Microbial Loop
    14.3.6 Bacteria as Predators
    14.4 Neutral Relationships
    14.5 Positive relationships
    14.5.1 Metabiosis
    14.5.2 Symbiosis
    Chapter 15 Additional Topics in Species Interactions
    15.1 Cheating and cheaters
    15.2 Cooperation
    15.3 Evolutionary Arms Races
    15.4 Microbe Eukaryote Interactions
    15.5 Biogeography
    Figure Legends

Product details

  • No. of pages: 432
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2006
  • Published: February 1, 2006
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080511542
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123694911

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.

Ratings and Reviews

Write a review

There are currently no reviews for "Microbial Ecology"