Saccharomyces cerevisiae: a nomadic yeast with no niche?

Goddard, M. R. and Greig, D. (2015) Saccharomyces cerevisiae: a nomadic yeast with no niche? FEMS Yeast Research, 15 (3). ISSN 1567-1356

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femsyr/fov009

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Abstract

Different species are usually thought to have specific adaptations, which allow them to occupy different ecological niches. But recent neutral ecology theory suggests that species diversity can simply be the result of random sampling, due to finite population sizes and limited dispersal. Neutral models predict that species are not necessarily adapted to specific niches, but are functionally equivalent across a range of habitats. Here we evaluate the ecology of S. cerevisiae, one of the most important microbial species in human history. The artificial collection, concentration, and fermentation of large volumes of fruit for alcohol production produces an environment in which S. cerevisiae thrives, and therefore it is assumed that fruit is the ecological niche that S. cerevisiae inhabits and has adapted to. We find very little direct evidence that S. cerevisiae is adapted to fruit, or indeed to any other specific niche. We propose instead a neutral nomad model for S. cerevisiae, which we believe should be used as the starting hypothesis in attempting to unravel the ecology of this important microbe.

Additional Information:This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords:Crabtree effect, fermentation, fruit, adaptation, niche, neutral ecology, natural history, bmjgoldcheck
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C170 Population Biology
C Biological Sciences > C500 Microbiology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:16988
Deposited On:27 Mar 2015 16:22

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