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Studies on microbiome diversity are flooding the current literature, yet lessons from ecology clearly demonstrate that diversity is just one factor to consider when analyzing an ecosystem, along with its stability, structure and function. Measures of diversity may be a useful tool for interpreting metagenomic data but the question remains as to how informative they are and what insight they may provide into the state of the microbiome. A study utilizing mathematical modeling to investigate the ecological dynamics of microbial communities has shown that diversity and stability may not always be concomitant. This finding is pertinent to the gut microbiome field, especially since diversity comparisons between healthy and pathological states frequently yield contradictory results. There is a need to broaden our approach to the analysis of microbiome data if we are to better understand this complex ecological community and its role in human health and disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Gut microbes

Publication Date





455 - 458


a Department of Experimental Psychology , University of Oxford , Oxford , UK.


Gastrointestinal Tract, Humans, Bacteria, Biodiversity, Health, Gastrointestinal Microbiome