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Plenary Lecture 5: Neutral models on island chains: biodiversity measures, and the 'everything is everywhere' problem.

Thursday 30th October 2014 - 14:00 to 14:35
INI Seminar Room 1
Personal care products such as deodorants, anti-dandruff treatments, and toothpastes, impact directly on human-associated microbial communities. Recent progress in next generation sequencing, and large scale microbiomics projects, have revealed the startling diversity of these communities: sequence deep enough and (almost) everything is everywhere. Conversely, it appears that everyone carries around their own personal microflora. This begs the question: how do human-associated microbial communities get to be the way they are? How much is due to chance? In this talk, simulations of neutral community assembly models on island chains indicate how measurements of inter-individual and intra-individual beta-diversity may give insights into assembly mechanisms. Additionally, the analysis suggests biodiversity measures which remain well defined in the 'microbial limit' of an infinite population, escaping the 'everything is everywhere' problem.
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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons