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Ecology of speciation in the genus Bacillus.


ABSTRACT: Microbial ecologists and systematists are challenged to discover the early ecological changes that drive the splitting of one bacterial population into two ecologically distinct populations. We have aimed to identify newly divergent lineages ("ecotypes") bearing the dynamic properties attributed to species, with the rationale that discovering their ecological differences would reveal the ecological dimensions of speciation. To this end, we have sampled bacteria from the Bacillus subtilis-Bacillus licheniformis clade from sites differing in solar exposure and soil texture within a Death Valley canyon. Within this clade, we hypothesized ecotype demarcations based on DNA sequence diversity, through analysis of the clade's evolutionary history by Ecotype Simulation (ES) and AdaptML. Ecotypes so demarcated were found to be significantly different in their associations with solar exposure and soil texture, suggesting that these and covarying environmental parameters are among the dimensions of ecological divergence for newly divergent Bacillus ecotypes. Fatty acid composition appeared to contribute to ecotype differences in temperature adaptation, since those ecotypes with more warm-adapting fatty acids were isolated more frequently from sites with greater solar exposure. The recognized species and subspecies of the B. subtilis-B. licheniformis clade were found to be nearly identical to the ecotypes demarcated by ES, with a few exceptions where a recognized taxon is split at most into three putative ecotypes. Nevertheless, the taxa recognized do not appear to encompass the full ecological diversity of the B. subtilis-B. licheniformis clade: ES and AdaptML identified several newly discovered clades as ecotypes that are distinct from any recognized taxon.

SUBMITTER: Connor N 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2832372 | BioStudies | 2010-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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