Comparative analyses in aquatic microbial ecology: How far do they go?

Josep M. Gasol*, Carlos M. Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Methodological developments in recent years have led to an increase in empirical databases on the abundance and functions of aquatic microbes, now allowing synthesis studies. Most of these studies have adopted a comparative approach, such that comparative analyses are now available for most aspects of aquatic microbial food webs (more than 50 papers published in the last 15 years). Some of these analyses apparently yield conflicting results, introducing confusion and unnecessary disputes in the field. We briefly review the comparative analyses so far produced and we highlight generalities, show that some of the perceived discrepancies largely derive from partial analyses of a general underlying trend and formulate predictions based on these general trends that provide new avenues for research. Copyright (C) 2000 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank F. Thingstad and B. Riemann for the invitation to participate in the MAST Advanced Study Course ‘Concepts and models of the microbial Food Web’ which originated this paper. S. Canut helped in the usual ways. Comments by X.A.G. Morán, C. Pedrós-Alió, M.L. Pace and T.F. Thingstad are greatly appreciated. The work of the authors has been supported by projects: MAS3-CT95-0016 (MEDEA), MAR95-1901-C03-03 (MIDAS) and MAS3-CT96-0045 (COMWEB), funded by the MAST program of the European Commission.


  • Bacterium
  • Comparative analysis
  • Ecosystem metabolism
  • Ecosystem structure
  • Microbial ecology
  • Model
  • Protist
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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