COVID-19 Update: We are currently shipping orders daily. However, due to transit disruptions in some geographies, deliveries may be delayed. To provide all customers with timely access to content, we are offering 50% off Science and Technology Print & eBook bundle options. Terms & conditions.
Microbial Ecology - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123694911, 9780080511542

Microbial Ecology

1st Edition

An Evolutionary Approach

Author: J McArthur
eBook ISBN: 9780080511542
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123694911
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st February 2006
Page Count: 432
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out Price includes VAT/GST
Price includes VAT/GST

Institutional Subscription

Secure Checkout

Personal information is secured with SSL technology.

Free Shipping

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


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2006
1st February 2006
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:

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

Ratings and Reviews