Microbiomes play essential roles in the health and function of animal and plant hosts and drive nutrient cycling across ecosystems. Integrating novel trait-based approaches with ecological theory can facilitate the prediction of microbial functional traits important for ecosystem functioning and health. In particular, the yield-acquisition-stress (Y-A-S) framework considers dominant microbial life history strategies across gradients of resource availability and stress. However, microbiomes are dynamic, and spatial and temporal shifts in taxonomic and trait composition can affect ecosystem functions. We posit that extending the Y-A-S framework to microbiomes during succession and across biogeographic gradients can lead to generalizable rules for how microbiomes and their functions respond to resources and stress across space, time, and diverse ecosystems. We demonstrate the potential of this framework by applying it to the microbiomes hosted by the carnivorous pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea, which have clear successional trajectories and are distributed across a broad climatic gradient.
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Bittleston, Leonora S.; Freedman, Zachary B.; Bernardin, Jessica R.; Grothjan, Jacob J.; Young, Erica B.; Record, Sydne; . . . and Gray, Sarah M. (2021). "Exploring Microbiome Functional Dynamics Through Space and Time with Trait-Based Theory". mSystems, 6(4), e00530-21. https://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00530-21