Soil bacterial diversity patterns and drivers along an elevational gradient on Shennongjia Mountain, China.
ABSTRACT: Understanding biological diversity elevational pattern and the driver factors are indispensable to develop the ecological theories. Elevational gradient may minimize the impact of environmental factors and is the ideal places to study soil microbial elevational patterns. In this study, we selected four typical vegetation types from 1000 to 2800?m above the sea level on the northern slope of Shennongjia Mountain in central China, and analysed the soil bacterial community composition, elevational patterns and the relationship between soil bacterial diversity and environmental factors by using the 16S rRNA Illumina sequencing and multivariate statistical analysis. The results revealed that the dominant bacterial phyla were Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria and Verrucomicrobia, which accounted for over 75% of the bacterial sequences obtained from tested samples, and the soil bacterial operational taxonomic unit (OTU) richness was a significant monotonous decreasing (P?
Project description:The elevational diversity pattern for microorganisms has received great attention recently but is still understudied, and phylogenetic relatedness is rarely studied for microbial elevational distributions. Using a bar-coded pyrosequencing technique, we examined the biodiversity patterns for soil bacterial communities of tundra ecosystem along 2000-2500 m elevations on Changbai Mountain in China. Bacterial taxonomic richness displayed a linear decreasing trend with increasing elevation. Phylogenetic diversity and mean nearest taxon distance (MNTD) exhibited a unimodal pattern with elevation. Bacterial communities were more phylogenetically clustered than expected by chance at all elevations based on the standardized effect size of MNTD metric. The bacterial communities differed dramatically among elevations, and the community composition was significantly correlated with soil total carbon (TC), total nitrogen, C:N ratio, and dissolved organic carbon. Multiple ordinary least squares regression analysis showed that the observed biodiversity patterns strongly correlated with soil TC and C:N ratio. Taken together, this is the first time that a significant bacterial diversity pattern has been observed across a small-scale elevational gradient. Our results indicated that soil carbon and nitrogen contents were the critical environmental factors affecting bacterial elevational distribution in Changbai Mountain tundra. This suggested that ecological niche-based environmental filtering processes related to soil carbon and nitrogen contents could play a dominant role in structuring bacterial communities along the elevational gradient.
Project description:Ecological understandings of soil bacterial community succession and assembly mechanism along elevational gradients in mountains remain not well understood. Here, by employing the high-throughput sequencing technique, we systematically examined soil bacterial diversity patterns, the driving factors, and community assembly mechanisms along the elevational gradients of 1800-4100 m on Gongga Mountain in China. Soil bacterial diversity showed an extraordinary stair-step pattern along the elevational gradients. There was an abrupt decrease of bacterial diversity between 2600 and 2800 m, while no significant change at either lower (1800-2600 m) or higher (2800-4100 m) elevations, which coincided with the variation in soil pH. In addition, the community structure differed significantly between the lower and higher elevations, which could be primarily attributed to shifts in soil pH and vegetation types. Although there was no direct effect of MAP and MAT on bacterial community structure, our partial least squares path modeling analysis indicated that bacterial communities were indirectly influenced by climate via the effect on vegetation and the derived effect on soil properties. As for bacterial community assembly mechanisms, the null model analysis suggested that environmental filtering played an overwhelming role in the assembly of bacterial communities in this region. In addition, variation partition analysis indicated that, at lower elevations, environmental attributes explained much larger fraction of the ?-deviation than spatial attributes, while spatial attributes increased their contributions at higher elevations. Our results highlight the importance of environmental filtering, as well as elevation-related spatial attributes in structuring soil bacterial communities in mountain ecosystems.
Project description:The elevational and latitudinal diversity patterns of microbial taxa have attracted great attention in the past decade. Recently, the distribution of functional attributes has been in the spotlight. Here, we report a study profiling soil microbial communities along an elevation gradient (500-2200 m) on Changbai Mountain. Using a comprehensive functional gene microarray (GeoChip 5.0), we found that microbial functional gene richness exhibited a dramatic increase at the treeline ecotone, but the bacterial taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing did not exhibit such a similar trend. However, the ?-diversity (compositional dissimilarity among sites) pattern for both bacterial taxa and functional genes was similar, showing significant elevational distance-decay patterns which presented increased dissimilarity with elevation. The bacterial taxonomic diversity/structure was strongly influenced by soil pH, while the functional gene diversity/structure was significantly correlated with soil dissolved organic carbon (DOC). This finding highlights that soil DOC may be a good predictor in determining the elevational distribution of microbial functional genes. The finding of significant shifts in functional gene diversity at the treeline ecotone could also provide valuable information for predicting the responses of microbial functions to climate change.
Project description:The elevational pattern of soil microbial diversity along mountain slopes has received considerable interest over the last decade. An increasing amount of taxonomic data on soil microbial community composition along elevation gradients have been collected, however the trophic patterns and environmental drivers of elevational changes remain largely unclear. Here, we examined the distribution patterns of major soil bacterial and fungal taxa along the northern slope of Changbai Mountain, Northeast China, at five typical vegetation types located between 740 and 2,691 m above sea level. Elevational patterns of the relative abundance of specific microbial taxa could be partially explained by the oligotrophic-copiotrophic theory. Specifically, two dark-coniferous forests, located at mid-elevation sites, were considered to be oligotrophic habitats, with relatively higher soil C/N ratio and [Formula: see text]-N concentrations. As expected, oligotrophic microbial taxa, belonging to the bacterial phyla Acidobacteria and Gemmatimonadetes, and fungal phylum Basidiomycota, were predominant in the two dark-coniferous forests, exhibiting a mid-elevation maximum pattern. In contrast, the broad leaf-Korean pine mixed forest located at the foot of the mountain, Betula ermanii-dominated forest located below the tree line, and alpine tundra at the highest elevation were considered more copiotrophic habitats, characterized by higher substrate-induced-respiration rates and [Formula: see text]-N concentrations. Microbial taxa considered to be so called copiotrophic members, such as bacterial phyla Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria, and fungal phylum Ascomycota, were relatively abundant in these locations, resulting in a mid-elevation minimum pattern. At finer taxonomic levels, the two most abundant proteobacterial classes, alpha- and beta-Proteobacteria, along with Acidobacteria Gp1, 2, 3, 15, and the Basidiomycotal class of Tremellomycetes were classified with the copiotrophic group. Gamma- and delta-Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria Gp4, 6, 7, 16, and Basidiomycotal class of Agaricomycetes were classified as oligotrophic taxa. This work uses the oligotrophic-copiotrophic theory to explain the elevational distribution pattern of the relative abundance of specific microbial taxa, confirming some of the existing trophic classifications of microbial taxa and expanding on the theory to include a broader range of taxonomic levels.
Project description:Studies on elevational gradients in biodiversity have accumulated in recent decades. However, few studies have compared the elevational patterns of diversity between the different slopes of a single mountain. We investigated the elevational distribution of rodent diversity (alpha and beta diversity) and its underlying mechanisms along the southern and northern slopes of Mt. Taibai, the highest mountain in the Qinling Mountains, China. The species richness of rodents on the two slopes showed distinct distribution patterns, with a monotonically decreasing pattern found along the southern slope and a hump-shaped elevational pattern evident along the northern slope. Multi-model inference suggested that temperature was an important explanatory factor for the richness pattern along the southern slope, and the mid-domain effect (MDE) was important in explaining the richness pattern along the northern slope. The two slopes also greatly differed in the elevational patterns of species turnover, with the southern slope demonstrating a U-shaped curve and the northern slope possessing a roughly hump-shaped pattern. Our results suggest that even within the same mountain, organisms inhabiting different slopes may possess distinct diversity patterns, and the underlying mechanisms may also differ. The potential role of the factors associated with slope aspect in shaping diversity, therefore, cannot be ignored.
Project description:Elevational gradients strongly affect microbial biodiversity in bulk soil through altering plant and soil properties, but the effects on rhizosphere microbial patterns remain unclear, especially at large spatial scales. We therefore designed an elevational gradient experiment to examine rhizosphere microbial (bacteria, fungi and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) diversity and composition using Illumina sequencing of the 16S rRNA and ITS genes for comparison to plant and soil properties. Our results showed that bacterial and fungal alpha diversity was significantly higher at mid-elevation, while AMF alpha diversity decreased monotonically. The beta diversities of the three groups were significantly affected by elevational gradients, but the effect on bacterial beta diversity was larger than on fungal and AMF beta diversity. Proteobacteria, the dominant phyla of bacteria, was significantly higher at the mid-elevation, while Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria significantly decreased as elevation increased. The main fungal taxa, Basidiomycota, significantly decreased with elevation, and Ascomycota significantly increased with elevation. Glomeromycota, the dominant AMF phyla, responded insignificantly to the elevational gradients. The responses of bacterial and fungal alpha diversity were mostly associated with tree diversity and organic carbon, whereas AMF alpha diversity mainly depended on litter N and P. Changes in bacterial community composition along the elevational gradient were explained primarily by litter N and P, and litter P was the main driver of fungal and AMF community composition. Overall, our results suggest that plant litter, particularly litter N and P, were the main source of external carbon input and drove the observed differences in rhizosphere microbial diversity and community composition. Our results highlight the importance of litter nutrition in structuring rhizosphere microbial communities in mountain ecosystems.
Project description:Little is known of how archaeal diversity and community ecology behaves along elevational gradients. We chose to study Mount Fuji of Japan as a geologically and topographically uniform mountain system, with a wide range of elevational zones. PCR-amplified soil DNA for the archaeal 16 S rRNA gene was pyrosequenced and taxonomically classified against EzTaxon-e archaeal database. At a bootstrap cut-off of 80%, most of the archaeal sequences were classified into phylum Thaumarchaeota (96%) and Euryarchaeota (3.9%), with no sequences classified into other phyla. Archaeal OTU richness and diversity on Fuji showed a pronounced 'peak' in the mid-elevations, around 1500 masl, within the boreal forest zone, compared to the temperate forest zone below and the alpine fell-field and desert zones above. Diversity decreased towards higher elevations followed by a subtle increase at the summit, mainly due to an increase in the relative abundance of the group I.1b of Thaumarchaeota. Archaeal diversity showed a strong positive correlation with soil NH(4)(+), K and NO(3)(-). Archaeal diversity does not parallel plant diversity, although it does roughly parallel bacterial diversity. Ecological hypotheses to explain the mid diversity bulge on Fuji include intermediate disturbance effects, and the result of mid elevations combining a mosaic of upper and lower slope environments. Our findings show clearly that archaeal soil communities are highly responsive to soil environmental gradients, in terms of both their diversity and community composition. Distinct communities of archaea specific to each elevational zone suggest that many archaea may be quite finely niche-adapted within the range of soil environments. A further interesting finding is the presence of a mesophilic component of archaea at high altitudes on a mountain that is not volcanically active. This emphasizes the importance of microclimate - in this case solar heating of the black volcanic ash surface--for the ecology of soil archaea.
Project description:Understanding the species diversity patterns along elevational gradients is critical for biodiversity conservation in mountainous regions. We examined the elevational patterns of species richness and turnover, and evaluated the effects of spatial and environmental factors on nonvolant small mammals (hereafter "small mammal") predicted a priori by alternative hypotheses (mid-domain effect [MDE], species-area relationship [SAR], energy, environmental stability, and habitat complexity]) proposed to explain the variation of diversity. We designed a standardized sampling scheme to trap small mammals at ten elevational bands across the entire elevational gradient on Yulong Mountain, southwest China. A total of 1,808 small mammals representing 23 species were trapped. We observed the hump-shaped distribution pattern of the overall species richness along elevational gradient. Insectivores, rodents, large-ranged species, and endemic species richness showed the general hump-shaped pattern but peaked at different elevations, whereas the small-ranged species and endemic species favored the decreasing richness pattern. The MDE and the energy hypothesis were supported, whereas little support was found for the SAR, the environmental stability hypothesis, and the habitat complexity. However, the primary driver(s) for richness patterns differed among the partitioning groups, with NDVI (the normalized difference vegetation index) and MDE being the most important variables for the total richness pattern. Species turnover for all small mammal groups increased with elevation, and it supported a decrease in community similarity with elevational distance. Our results emphasized for increased conservation efforts in the higher elevation regions of the Yulong Mountain.
Project description:Elevational gradients are associated not only with variations in temperature and precipitation, but also with shifts in vegetation types and changes in soil physicochemical properties. While large-scale elevational patterns of soil microbial diversity, such as monotonic declines and hump-shaped models, have been reported, it is unclear whether within-ecosystem elevational distribution patterns exist for soil fungal communities at the small scale. Using Illumina Miseq DNA sequencing, we present a comprehensive analysis of soil fungal diversity and community compositions in an alpine tundra ecosystem at elevations ranging from 2000 to 2500 m on the Changbai Mountain, China. Soil fungal community composition differed among elevations, and the fungal diversity (i.e., species richness and Chao1) increased along elevations. Soil fungal richness was negatively correlated with soil carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratio, and community composition varied according to the C/N ratio. In addition, the relative abundances of Basidiomycota and Leotiomycetes were similarly negatively correlated with C/N ratio. For functional guilds, our data showed that mycoparasite and foliar epiphyte abundances were also influenced by C/N ratio. These results indicated that soil C/N ratio might be a key factor in determining soil fungal distribution at small-scale elevational gradients.
Project description:Although biodiversity and ecosystem functions are strongly shaped by contemporary environments, such as climate and local biotic and abiotic attributes, relatively little is known about how they depend on long-term geological processes. Here, along a 3000-m elevational gradient with tectonic faults on the Tibetan Plateau (that is, Galongla Mountain in Medog County, China), we study the joint effects of geological and contemporary environments on biological communities, such as the diversity and community composition of plants and soil bacteria, and ecosystem functions. We find that these biological communities and ecosystem functions generally show consistent elevational breakpoints at 2000-2800?m, which coincide with Indus-Yalu suture zone fault and are similar to the elevational breakpoints of soil bacteria on another mountain range 1000?km away. Mean annual temperature, soil pH and moisture are the primary contemporary determinants of biodiversity and ecosystem functions, which support previous findings. However, compared with the models excluding geological processes, inclusion of geological effects, such as parent rock and weathering, increases 67.9 and 35.9% of the explained variations in plant and bacterial communities, respectively. Such inclusion increases 27.6% of the explained variations in ecosystem functions. The geological processes thus provide additional links to ecosystem properties, which are prominent but show divergent effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functions: parent rock and weathering exert considerable direct effects on biodiversity, whereas indirectly influence ecosystem functions via interactions with biodiversity and contemporary environments. Thus, the integration of geological processes with environmental gradients could enhance our understanding of biodiversity and, ultimately, ecosystem functioning across different climatic zones.