Syntrophy and microbial trade
Microbes live in complex communities where goods such as metabolites are produced and exchanged. These communities often exhibit division of labor and can allow a community to live in environments where no single organism could. Since these microbial relationships can persist across generations, they can be viewed as an alternative to a multicellular lifestyle. Understanding the evolution of these trading communities provides a clearer picture of the different routes by which life increases in complexity.