ENIGMA researchers at the University of Oklahoma have developed a general framework for quantitatively assessing ecological stochasticity. This general framework provides an effective and robust tool to ecologists for quantifying ecological stochasticity. This allows ENIGMA to move towards a more precise quantitative understanding of ecological processes shaping subsurface communities. The new index normalized stochasticity ratio (NST) showed high accuracy and precision (>0.9; >0.3 higher than previous approaches on average). When applied to a groundwater microbial community in response to organic carbon (vegetable oil) injection, NST demonstrated stochasticity increased after injection and decreased when the oil was consumed. By highlighting the caveats, this study also provides guidance for the appropriate use of null model-based approaches for examining community assembly processes.
Ning, D.; Y. Deng, J. M. Tiedje, J. Zhou (2019) A General Framework for Quantitatively Assessing Ecological Stochasticity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116 (34): 16892-16898 [doi]:1073/pnas.1904623116