BREAKTHROUGH: New research shows that bacteria disappear at higher rates
Between 45,000 and 95,000 bacterial species have disappeared in the past millions of years – in contravention of the widespread theory of dying rare (1
Scientists used groundbreaking techniques to show that between 1.4 and 1.9 million bacterial lines are present.
They studied the mathematical structures found in DNA to create the first evolutionary tree for bacteria – and show the rate of extinction.
For over 3.5Gyr (3.5 billion years), the geochemical composition of our planet has been shaped by the evolution and diversification of bacteria
Study Director Postdoctoral Fellow Stilianos Louca at the University of British Columbia said that studying the evolutionary and extinction patterns of bacteria can elucidate the "new ways" that simple organisms survive.
He stated, "For over 3.5Gyr (3.5 billion years), the geochemical composition of our planet has been shaped by the evolution and diversification of bacteria." Most importantly, the major oxygenation event occurred about 2 years ago.
, Was caused by cyanobacteria for 35 years and dramatically changed the surface environments of the Earth and the subsequent evolution of life.
"Despite the prominent role of bacteria in ancient and modern biospheres, little is known about the dynamics with which their diversity evolved over Earth's history."
He added, "Bacteria rarely petrify, so we know very well little about how the microbial landscape has evolved over time.
"Sequencing and math helped us fill the bacterial family tree, map how they have diversified over time, and expose their extinction.
"While Modern Bacteria Diversity is undoubtedly high, it is but a small part of the diversity that evolution has produced in the history of the earth."
Despite the frequent, steady extermination of individual species, they found that bacteria were exponentially diversified without interruption.
They avoid the abrupt, planet-wide mass extinctions that have occurred periodically in plants and animals.
Researchers suggest that competition between bacterial species drives the high rate of microbial death and makes them less susceptible to sudden mass extinction.
Former speciation, which is the formation of new species, and extinction events leave a complex trail in phylogenies – the mathematical structures that encode the evolutionary relationship between existing bacterial species.
Using powerful computers, scientists have studied this code to show how bacteria evolved and evolved.
1 of 13  Co-author Professor Dr. Michael Doebeli, a zoologist and mathematician, said, "This study would not have been possible ten years ago.
"Today's availability of massive sequence data and powerful computational resources allowed us to perform the complex Mathematical Analysis."
The researchers faced the challenge of considering the large number of undiscovered bacterial species involved in building the tree.
They used "sequencing data from 60 studies in different environments around the world" to describe the (19659013) Dr. Louca added, "Our results suggest that during the last 1Gyr [one billion years] global extinction and extinction rates of bacteria were not significantly affected during mass extinction, eukaryotic recordings of fossils.
" This conclusion does not support earlier speculation that The extinction of plant and animal-associated bacteria – resulting from the extinction of their hosts – can contribute significantly to bacterial extinction rates. "
Eukaryotic cells are those of animals, plants, and fungi.
He concluded," Our analysis raises a light on bacterial diversification over geological time.
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" We found evidence that global bacterial diversity has mainly increased in the last 1yrs, with overall species and extinction rates changing approximately constant or slowly across all clades on average.
This has an impact on how life unfolded over Earth's history, as bacteria are the oldest and most prevalent form of life on Earth.
"We estimate that global bacterial extinction rates are only marginally below their speciation rates and that only a small fraction of bacterial lines that ever existed survived until today.
" This has important implications for the interpretation of records about ancient life. "
Scientists now plan to study how physiological properties of bacteria evolve over time 19659004] They want to find out if their ecological diversity has increased as well as their taxonomic diversity.  The study was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.