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Coexistence among Epiphytic Bacterial Populations Mediated through Nutritional Resource Partitioning

  • Mark Wilson
  • Steven E. Lindow
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1994
  • Ecology


The levels of coexistence between Pseudomonas syringae and various nonpathogenic epiphytic species in the phyllosphere of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) were assessed by using replacement series. The epiphytic species Pseudomonas fluorescens, Pantoea agglomerans, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and Methylobacterium organophilum were all capable of exhibiting higher levels of coexistence with P. syringae than was observed with a near-isogenic P. syringae strain pair. The ecological similarity of the epiphytes was estimated with niche overlap indices derived from in vitro carbon source utilization profiles. The level of coexistence of the epiphytes was inversely correlated with the ecological similarity of the strains. Hence, the level of coexistence between the epiphytes was proportional to the degree of niche differentiation, defined as the ability to utilize carbon sources not utilized by a competing strain. Comparisons of utilization profiles for groups of carbon sources (amino acids, organic acids, and carbohydrates) indicated the types of carbon sources for which the strains likely competed in the bean phyllosphere. P. fluorescens and P. syringae strains probably competed for most carbon sources. S. maltophilia and M. organophilum strains probably competed with P. syringae for most organic acids but few amino acids or carbohydrates. P. agglomerans strains probably competed with P. syringae for most amino acids and organic acids but few carbohydrates. A variable level of coexistence observed between P. agglomerans and P. syringae probably reflected the variability in abundance in the bean phyllosphere of the carbohydrates that P. agglomerans utilized exclusively.

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