Antagonistic interactions of soil pseudomonads are structured in time
Social interactions have been invoked as potential major selective forces structuring natural microbial communities and thus may help explain the astonishing bacterial diversity of natural ecosystems. Here, we investigate the prevalence and structure of exotoxin-mediated antagonistic interactions among free-living soil Pseudomonas strains collected over the course of 2 years at distances of up to 1 km. Unlike some previous studies on antagonistic interactions among natural isolates, we found the prevalence of exotoxin-mediated inhibitions to be relatively low. When present, antagonistic interactions show a weakly positive relationship with genetic relatedness and metabolic similarity. Isolates sampled from the same growing season were significantly more likely to inhibit each other than they were to inhibit isolates from different growing seasons. Exotoxin-mediated antagonistic interactions between soil pseudomonads thus seem to be structured in time but do not appear to be a major selective force shaping free-living soil bacterial communities of pseudomonads.