Taxonomic patterns of primary ecological succession in the human gut are well documented, but the mechanisms that drive them are not fully understood. In particular, it is unclear the extent to which successional patterns are shaped by dispersal limitation vs. the changing gut environment. In my talk, I will use a custom trait database built from publicly available data to examine trait-based patterns of gut microbiome succession in 75 infants, with infant gut community data provided by the DIABIMMUNE study group. I will first use shifts in community-weighted traits over time to infer changes in optimal ecological strategies in the gut. Next, I will compare rates of trait-based and species-based turnover to explore potential connections between community structure and function. Third, I will compare rates of turnover within and across infants to explore how meta-community dynamics may be shaping host colonization patterns. It is my hope that the trait-based tools and perspectives I explore in my talk will contribute to the development of a more ecological framework of human gut succession.
Sponsored by the Host Microbiome Initiative