The Ecology and Evolution of Model Microbial Mutualisms

Jeremy M. Chacón, Sarah P. Hammarlund, Jonathan N.V. Martinson, Leno B. Smith, William R. Harcombe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Mutually beneficial interspecific interactions are abundant throughout the natural world, including between microbes. Mutualisms between microbes are critical for everything from human health to global nutrient cycling. Studying model microbial mutualisms in the laboratory enables highly controlled experiments for developing and testing evolutionary and ecological hypotheses. In this review, we begin by describing the tools available for studying model microbial mutualisms. We then outline recent insights that laboratory systems have shed on the evolutionary origins, evolutionary dynamics, and ecological features of microbial mutualism. We touch on gaps in our current understanding of microbial mutualisms, note connections to mutualism in nonmicrobial systems, and call attention to open questions ripe for future study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-384
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


  • Mutualism
  • experimental evolutionary ecology
  • microbial interactions


Dive into the research topics of 'The Ecology and Evolution of Model Microbial Mutualisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this