A brief guide for the measurement and interpretation of microbial functional diversity
- Review Article
The importance of functional diversity for the functioning and behaviour of microbial communities is clear, yet the widespread incorporation of functional diversity measurements into environmental microbiology study designs remains surprisingly limited. This may, at least to some extent, be a consequence of the unique conceptual and methodological challenges to measuring functional diversity in microbial communities. To facilitate the increased incorporation of functional diversity measurements into environmental microbiology study designs, we review here the process and some key caveats for measuring functional diversity and provide specific examples. We highlight three main decision points and provide guidance to making these decisions based on the underlying mechanisms for how functional diversity relates to an ecosystem process or property of interest. We discuss the selection of an appropriate type of functional trait, selection of the specificity at which functional diversity will be measured, and selection of an appropriate metric for estimating functional diversity from quantitative measures of those traits. We further discuss decisions regarding the use of one- or multi-dimensional measures of functional diversity and how advances in the field of trait-based community ecology could be applied or adapted to address questions in environmental microbiology. Show more
Journal / seriesEnvironmental Microbiology
Pages / Article No.
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