Comparative Ecology of Microorganisms and Macroorganisms
The most important feature of the modern synthetic theory of evolution is its foundation upon a great variety of biological disciplines. -G. L. STEBBINS, 1968, p. 17 This book is written with the goal of presenting ecologically significant anal ogies between the biology of microorganisms and macroorganisms. I consider such parallels to be important for two reasons. First, they serve to emphasize that however diverse life may be, there are common themes at the ecological level (not to mention other levels). Second, research done with either microbes or macroorganisms has implications which transcend a particular field of study. Although both points may appear obvious, the fact remains that at tempts to forge a conceptual synthesiS are astonishingly meager. While unify ing concepts may not necessarily be strictly correct, they enable one to draw analogies across disciplines. New starting points are discovered as a conse quence, and new ways of looking at things emerge. The macroscopic organisms ('macroorganisms') include most represen tatives of the plant and animal kingdoms. I interpret the term 'microorganism' (microbe) literally to mean the small or microscopic forms of life, and I include in this category the bacteria, the protists (excluding the macroscopic green, brown, and red algae), and the fungi. Certain higher organisms, such as many of the nematodes, fall logically within this realm, but are not discussed at any length.
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algae analogous animals asexual autotrophs bacteria bacterium biology biomass Bonner branching carbon cellular changes Chapter chromosome clonal organisms clone coli colonies competition complex life cycle constraints density developed dikaryotic diploid dispersal ecological efficiency energy environment environmental eukaryotes evidence evolution evolutionary example favorable Figure function fungal fungi fungus gametes ganisms gene generalist genetic individual genome genotype germ growth form habitat haploid Harper hence heterokaryosis host hyphae implications increase infection interactions invertebrates K-selection limited lithotrophic macroorganisms mechanisms meiosis metabolic microbes mobile modular organisms modules morphological multicellular natural selection nutrient occur optimal foraging optimal foraging theory parasites particular pathogen pattern phage phase phenotypic phylogenetic physiological plants plasmids population potential produce prokaryotes protein ramets recombination relatively reproductive value resource role rust saprovore senescence sequence sessile sexual similar soma somatic variation species spores stage structure taxa theory transposons tree unitary organisms variable versatility zygote