Predator-prey interactions are a main issue in ecological theory, including multispecies predator-prey relationships and intraguild predation. This knowledge is mainly based on the study of plants and animals, while its relevance for microorganisms is not well understood. The three key groups of micro-predators include protists, predatory bacteria and bacteriophages. They greatly differ in size, in prey specificity, in hunting strategies and in the resulting population dynamics. Yet, their potential to jointly control bacterial populations and reducing biomass in complex environments such as wastewater treatment plants is vast. Here, we present relevant ecological concepts and recent findings on micropredators, and propose that an integrative approach to predation at the microscale should be developed enabling the exploitation of this potential.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by the German Research Foundation grant CH 731/2-1 .