Neutral processes drive seasonal assembly of the skin mycobiome

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

4 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00004-19
Journal / PublicationMSYSTEMS
Issue number2
Online published26 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019



The importance of microorganisms to human skin health has led to a growing interest in the temporal stability of skin microbiota. Here we investigated the dynamics and assembly of skin fungal communities (mycobiomes) with amplicon sequencing of samples collected from multiple sites on 24 healthy Chinese individuals across four seasons (in the order of winter, spring, summer, and autumn in a calendar year). We found a significant difference in community compositions between individuals, and intrapersonal community variation increased over time at all body sites. Within each season, the frequency of occurrence of most operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was well fitted by a neutral model, highlighting the importance of stochastic forces such as passive dispersal and ecological drift in skin community assembly. Despite the significant richness contributed by neutrally distributed OTUs, skin coassociation networks were dominated by taxa well-adapted to multiple body sites (forehead, forearm, and palm), although hub species were disproportionately rare. Taken together, these results suggest that while skin mycobiome assembly is a predominantly neutral process, taxa that could be under the influence of selective forces (e.g., host selection) are potentially key to the structure of a community network.

Research Area(s)

  • Community assembly, Human skin, Skin mycobiome, Temporal dynamics

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