Diversity of Microbial Communities

  • Ronald M. Atlas
Part of the Advances in Microbial Ecology book series (AMIE, volume 7)


As used by microbiologists, the term diversity has various meanings, often describing qualitative morphological or physiological variances among microorganisms (Starr and Skerman, 1965; Belser, 1979; Hamada and Farrand, 1980; Hanson, 1980; Stanley and Schmidt, 1981; Walker, 1978; Yeh and Ornston, 1980). Microbial populations indeed exhibit great heterogeneity or diversity in their morphological, physiological, and ultimately genetic characteristics. An extensive list of diversifying factors that act to establish differentiating characteristics between microbial species has been discussed by Starr and Schmidt (1981). Some examples of these diversifying features are listed in Table I. These diversifying features have traditionally been employed by bacteriologists as the criteria for differentiating species. Often, the ability to recognize and distinguish species of microorganisms is difficult, but it is essential for assessing diversity.


Microbial Community Species Richness Community Structure Bacterial Community Species Diversity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald M. Atlas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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