Stuart E. Jones, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences who focuses on aquatic microbial and ecosystem ecology, has received the Raymond L. Lindeman Award from the leading professional organization Advancing the Science of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). The award, started in 1987, honors an outstanding paper written by a young aquatic scientist. Jones’s paper, “Dormancy contributes to the maintenance of microbial diversity,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 2010.
Dormancy, a response to unfavorable conditions in the environment, forms a reservoir of inactive bacterial cells akin to a plant seed bank. These microbial seed banks maintain microbial diversity and the numerous ecosystem processes mediated by bacteria. His postdoctoral research at Michigan State University’s W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, the basis of the winning paper and another article in Nature Reviews: Microbiology, showed that dormancy may play a more important role in shaping bacterial communities than eukaryotic microbial communities, for example, algae.
“Furthermore, we observed that rare bacterial taxa were disproportionately active relative to common bacterial taxa, suggesting that microbial rank-abundance curves are more dynamic than previously considered,” the article says. “We propose that repeated transitions to and from the seed bank may help maintain the high levels of microbial biodiversity that are observed in nearly all ecosystems.”
Jones is a member of the Ecological Society of America, Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network, International Society of Microbial Ecology, American Society of Microbiology and ASLO. He will accept the award at an ASLO meeting in Japan in July.