Association of host and microbial species diversity across spatial scales in desert rodent communities

Yoni Gavish, Hadar Kedem, Irit Messika, Carmit Cohen, Evelyn Toh, Daniel Munro, Qunfeng Dong, Clay Fuqua, Keith Clay, Hadas Hawlena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Relationships between host and microbial diversity have important ecological and applied implications. Theory predicts that these relationships will depend on the spatio-temporal scale of the analysis and the niche breadth of the organisms in question, but representative data on host-microbial community assemblage in nature is lacking. We employed a natural gradient of rodent species richness and quantified bacterial communities in rodent blood at several hierarchical spatial scales to test the hypothesis that associations between host and microbial species diversity will be positive in communities dominated by organisms with broad niches sampled at large scales. Following pyrosequencing of rodent blood samples, bacterial communities were found to be comprised primarily of broad niche lineages. These communities exhibited positive correlations between host diversity, microbial diversity and the likelihood for rare pathogens at the regional scale but not at finer scales. These findings demonstrate how microbial diversity is affected by host diversity at different spatial scales and suggest that the relationships between host diversity and overall disease risk are not always negative, as the dilution hypothesis predicts.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere109677
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
StatePublished - 24 Oct 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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