Lawrence and colleagues tracked two subjects’ microbiota over a year, collecting 800 fecal and saliva samples associated with 10,000 longitudinal measurements. They first highlighted the evidence for long-term, overall community stability, as differences between individuals were much larger than variation within individuals. They found a small subset of highly abundant core taxa can be found within each stable period.

Secondly, they observed that travel and enteric infection are associated with profound community disturbance. However, for one individual, the microbiota never recovered to his initial state.

Finally, they identified that lifestyle choices, notably diet, can affect microbial taxa on daily timescales. For example, fiber-rich foods positively correlated with next-day abundances of Bifidobacteria, Roseburia, and Eubacterium rectale species.

Science writer Carl Zimmer explains more about this article in a blog post here.

Lawrence et al. Host Lifestyle Affects Human Microbiota on Daily Timescales. Genome biology. 2014