Metagenomics‎ > ‎Glossary‎ > ‎

Microbial ecosystem

The microbial ecosystem is a stable community

A microbial ecosystem is the community of all microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi) living in a specific environment. By interacting with each other, the microbes form a higher level system that stabilizes itself and becomes robust against changes in the environmental living conditions.

Stability of microbial ecosystems includes the potential of resistance, the ability for resilience, and the level functional redundancy.

Resistance

A microbial ecosystem is resistant to an environmental disturbance if it does not significantly change in the number of species and species proportions (species diversity and composition).

Resilience

Resilience is the ability of a microbial ecosystem to find back to its original balanced state after a strong stress condition.

Functional redundancy

Functional redundancy within an microbial ecosystem means that essential functions can be provided by different bacterial species, thereby making the system robust against loss of community members.