Marine Science Faculty Publications

Power Law Rank–abundance Models for Marine Phage Communities

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power law, kill the winner, neutral evolution, metagenomics, rank–abundance, generalized Lotka–Volterra

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Metagenomic analyses suggest that the rank–abundance curve for marine phage communities follows a power law distribution. A new type of power law dependence based on a simple model in which a modified version of Lotka–Volterra predator–prey dynamics is sampled uniformly in time is presented. Biologically, the model embodies a kill the winner hypothesis and a neutral evolution hypothesis. The model can match observed power law distributions and uses very few parameters that are readily identifiable and characterize phage ecosystems. The model makes new untested predictions: (1) it is unlikely that the most abundant phage genotype will be the same at different time points and (2) the long-term decay of isolated phage populations follows a power law.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

FEMS Microbiology Letters, v. 273, issue 2, p. 224–228