Deciphering the Assembly Processes of the Key Ecological Assemblages of Microbial Communities in Thirteen Full-Scale Wastewater Treatment Plants.
ABSTRACT: Limited information is currently available on the assembly processes (deterministic vs. stochastic) shaping the compositions of key microbial communities in activated sludge (AS). The relative importance of deterministic and stochastic processes for key bacterial and archaeal assemblages (i.e., core-satellite and habitat generalist-specialist) in AS from 13 wastewater treatment plants in China was investigated using 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing. The results obtained indicated 1,388 and 369 core operational taxonomic units (OTUs), 1,038 and 1,683 satellite OTUs, 255 and 48 habitat generalist OTUs, and 192 and 111 habitat specialist OTUs for Bacteria and Archaea, respectively. The proportions of shared OTUs between core and habitat specialist communities were similar to or higher than those between core and habitat generalist communities, suggesting a stronger inter-linkage between the former two groups. Deterministic processes, indicated by abundance-based ?-null models, were responsible for shaping core communities, in which NH4-N, OrgC/OrgN, Cr, and Ni were the main controlling factors. In contrast, satellite communities were predominantly influenced by stochastic processes. Moreover, we found that deterministic and stochastic processes were mainly responsible for shaping the assembly of habitat specialists and generalists, respectively. However, the influence of deterministic factors on habitat specialists remains unclear. The present study provides novel insights into the assembly mechanisms of AS microbial communities.
Project description:A core issue in microbial ecology is the need to elucidate the ecological processes and underlying mechanisms involved in microbial community assembly. However, the extent to which these mechanisms differ in importance based on traits of taxa with different niche breadth is poorly understood. Here, we used high-throughput sequencing to examine the relative importance of environmental selection and stochastic processes in shaping soil bacterial sub-communities with different niche breadth (including habitat generalists, specialists and other taxa) across elevational gradients on the subalpine slope of Mount Wutai, Northern China. Our findings suggested that the composition of soil bacterial communities differed significantly different among elevational gradients. According to the niche breadth index, 10.9% of OTUs were defined as habitat generalists (B-value >8.7) and 10.0% of OTUs were defined as habitat specialists (B-value <1.5). Generalists and specialists differed distinctly in diversity and biogeographic patterns across elevational gradients. Environmental selection (deterministic processes) and spatial factors (stochastic processes) seemed to determine the assembly and biogeography of habitat generalists. However, for specialists, deterministic processes strongly influenced the distribution, while stochastic processes were not at play. Environmental drivers for generalists and specialists differed, as did their importance. Elevation, total nitrogen and pH were the main factors determining habitat generalists, and soil water content, nitrate nitrogen and pH had the strongest impacts on specialists. Moreover, variation partitioning analysis revealed that environmental selection had a much greater impact on both generalists (17.7% of pure variance was explained) and specialists (3.6%) than spatial factors. However, generalists had a much stronger response to spatial factors (2.3%) than specialists (0.3%). More importantly, null models of ?-diversity suggested that specialists deviated significantly from non-neutral assembly mechanisms (relative null deviation= 0.64-0.74) relative to generalists (0.16-0.65) (P < 0.05). These results indicate that generalists and specialists are governed by different assembly mechanisms and present distinct biogeographical patterns. The large proportion of unexplained variation in specialists (93.3%) implies that very complex assembly mechanisms exist in the assembly of specialists across elevational gradients on the subalpine slope of Mount Wutai. It is essential to understand the microbial community assembly at a more refined level, and to expand the current understanding of microbial ecological mechanisms.
Project description:Grassland afforestation dramatically affects the abiotic, biotic, and ecological function properties of the original ecosystems. Interference from afforestation might disrupt the stasis of soil physicochemical properties and the dynamic balance of microbiota. Some studies have suggested low sensitivity of soil properties and bacterial community to afforestation, but the apparent lack of a significant relationship is probably due to the confounding effects of the generalist habitat and rare bacterial communities. In this study, soil chemical and prokaryotic properties in a 30-year-old Mongolia pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica Litv.) afforested region and adjacent grassland in Inner Mongolia were classified and quantified. Our results indicate that the high richness of rare microbes accounts for the alpha-diversity of the soil microbiome. Few OTUs of generalist (core bacteria) and habitat-specialist bacteria are present. However, the high abundance of this small number of OTUs governs the beta-diversity of the grassland and afforested land bacterial communities. Afforestation has changed the soil chemical properties, thus indirectly affecting the soil bacterial composition rather than richness. The contents of soil P, Ca2+, and Fe3+ account for differentially abundant OTUs such as Planctomycetes and subsequent changes in the ecologically functional potential of soil bacterial communities due to grassland afforestation. We conclude that grassland afforestation has changed the chemical properties and composition of the soil and ecological functions of the soil bacterial community and that these effects of afforestation on the microbiome have been modulated by changes in soil chemical properties.
Project description:Mangroves, as a blue carbon reservoir, provide an environment for a variety of microorganisms. Mangroves lie in special locations connecting coastal and estuarine areas and experience fluctuating conditions, which are expected to intensify with climate change, creating a need to better understand the relative roles of stochastic and deterministic processes in shaping microbial community assembly. Here, a study of microbial communities inhabiting mangrove sediments across southeastern China, spanning mangroves in six nature reserves, was conducted. We performed high-throughput DNA sequencing of these samples and compared them with data of 1,370 sediment samples collected from the Earth Microbiome Project (EMP) to compare the microbial diversity of mangroves with that of other biomes. Our results showed that prokaryotic alpha diversity in mangroves was significantly higher than that in other biomes and that microbial beta diversity generally clustered according to biome types. The core operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in mangroves were mostly assigned to Gammaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Chloroflexi, and Euryarchaeota The majority of beta nearest-taxon index values were higher than 2, indicating that community assembly in mangroves was better explained through a deterministic process than through a stochastic process. Mean annual precipitation (MAP) and total organic carbon (TOC) were main deterministic factors explaining variation in the microbial community. This study fills a gap in addressing the unique microbial diversity of mangrove ecosystems and their microbial community assembly mechanisms.IMPORTANCE Understanding the underlying mechanisms of microbial community assembly patterns is a vital issue in microbial ecology. Mangroves, as an important and special ecosystem, provide a unique environment for examining the relative importance of stochastic and deterministic processes. We made the first global-scale comparison and found that microbial diversity was significantly different in mangrove sediments compared to that of other biomes. Furthermore, our results suggest that a deterministic process is more important in shaping microbial community assembly in mangroves.
Project description:The core microbiota of a neutral mine drainage and the surrounding high heavy metal content soil at a Brazilian copper mine were characterized by 16S rDNA pyrosequencing. The core microbiota of the drainage was dominated by the generalist genus Meiothermus. The soil samples contained a more heterogeneous bacterial community, with the presence of both generalist and specialist bacteria. Both environments supported mainly heterotrophic bacteria, including organisms resistant to heavy metals, although many of the bacterial groups identified remain poorly characterized. The results contribute to the understanding of bacterial communities in soils impacted by neutral mine drainage, for which information is scarce, and demonstrate that heavy metals can play an important role in shaping the microbial communities in mine environments.
Project description:Microbial community assembly in engineered biological systems is often simultaneously influenced by stochastic and deterministic processes, and the nexus of these two mechanisms remains to be further investigated. Here, three lab-scale activated sludge reactors were seeded with identical inoculum and operated in parallel under eight different sludge retention time (SRT) by sequentially reducing the SRT from 15 days to 1 day. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing data, the microbial populations at the start-up (15-day SRT) and SRT-driven (?10-day SRT) phases were observed to be noticeably different. Clustering results demonstrated ecological succession at the start-up phase with no consistent successional steps among the three reactors, suggesting that stochastic processes played an important role in the community assembly during primary succession. At the SRT-driven phase, the three reactors shared 31 core operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Putative primary acetate utilizers and secondary metabolizers were proposed based on K-means clustering, network and synchrony analysis. The shared core populations accounted for 65% of the total abundance, indicating that the microbial communities at the SRT-driven phase were shaped predominantly by deterministic processes. Sloan's Neutral model and a null model analysis were performed to disentangle and quantify the relative influence of stochastic and deterministic processes on community assembly. The increased estimated migration rate in the neutral community model and the higher percentage of stochasticity in the null model implied that stochastic community assembly was intensified by strong deterministic factors. This was confirmed by the significantly different ?- and ?-diversity indices at SRTs shorter than 2 days and the observation that over half of the core OTUs were unshared or unsynchronized. Overall, this study provided quantitative insights into the nexus of stochastic and deterministic processes on microbial community assembly in a biological process.
Project description:Animals are routinely colonized by microorganisms. Despite many studies documenting the microbial taxa associated with animals, the pattern and ecological determinants of among-animal variation in microbial communities are poorly understood. This study quantified the bacterial communities associated with natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Across five collections, each fly bore 16-78 OTUs, predominantly of the Acetobacteraceae, Lactobacillaceae, and Enterobacteriaceae. Positive relationships, mostly among related OTUs, dominated both the significant co-occurrences and co-association networks among bacteria, and OTUs with important network positions were generally of intermediate abundance and prevalence. The prevalence of most OTUs was well predicted by a neutral model suggesting that ecological drift and passive dispersal contribute significantly to microbiome composition. However, some Acetobacteraceae and Lactobacillaceae were present in more flies than predicted, indicative of superior among-fly dispersal. These taxa may be well-adapted to the Drosophila habitat from the perspective of dispersal as the principal benefit of the association to the microbial partners. Taken together, these patterns indicate that both stochastic processes and deterministic processes relating to the differential capacity for persistence in the host habitat and transmission between hosts contribute to bacterial community assembly in Drosophila melanogaster.
Project description:Spatial and temporal processes shaping microbial communities are inseparably linked but rarely studied together. By Illumina 16S rRNA sequencing, we monitored soil bacteria in 360 stations on a 100 square meter plot distributed across six intra-annual samplings in a rarely managed, temperate grassland. Using a multi-tiered approach, we tested the extent to which stochastic or deterministic processes influenced the composition of local communities. A combination of phylogenetic turnover analysis and null modeling demonstrated that either homogenization by unlimited stochastic dispersal or scenarios, in which neither stochastic processes nor deterministic forces dominated, explained local assembly processes. Thus, the majority of all sampled communities (82%) was rather homogeneous with no significant changes in abundance-weighted composition. However, we detected strong and uniform taxonomic shifts within just nine samples in early summer. Thus, community snapshots sampled from single points in time or space do not necessarily reflect a representative community state. The potential for change despite the overall homogeneity was further demonstrated when the focus shifted to the rare biosphere. Rare OTU turnover, rather than nestedness, characterized abundance-independent ?-diversity. Accordingly, boosted generalized additive models encompassing spatial, temporal and environmental variables revealed strong and highly diverse effects of space on OTU abundance, even within the same genus. This pure spatial effect increased with decreasing OTU abundance and frequency, whereas soil moisture - the most important environmental variable - had an opposite effect by impacting abundant OTUs more than the rare ones. These results indicate that - despite considerable oscillation in space and time - the abundant and resident OTUs provide a community backbone that supports much higher ?-diversity of a dynamic rare biosphere. Our findings reveal complex interactions among space, time, and environmental filters within bacterial communities in a long-established temperate grassland.
Project description:Disentangling the effects of plant diversity on the control of herbivores is important for understanding agricultural sustainability. Recent studies have investigated the relationships between plant diversity and arthropod communities at the landscape scale, but few have done so at the local scale. We conducted a meta-analysis of 32 papers containing 175 independent measures of the relationship between plant diversity and arthropod communities. We found that generalist predators had a strong positive response to plant diversity, that is, their abundance increased as plant diversity increased. Herbivores, in contrast, had an overall weak and negative response to plant diversity. However, specialist and generalist herbivores differed in their response to plant diversity, that is, the response was negative for specialists and not significant for generalists. While the effects of scale remain unclear, the response to plant diversity tended to increase for specialist herbivores, but decrease for generalist herbivores as the scale increased. There was no clear effect of scale on the response of generalist predators to plant diversity. Our results suggest that the response of herbivores to plant diversity at the local scale is a balance between habitat and trophic effects that vary according to arthropod specialization and habitat type. Synthesis and applications. Positive effects of plant diversity on generalist predators confirm that, at the local scale, plant diversification of agroecosystems is a credible and promising option for increasing pest regulation. Results from our meta-analysis suggest that natural control in plant-diversified systems is more likely to occur for specialist than for generalist herbivores. In terms of pest management, our results indicate that small-scale plant diversification (via the planting of cover crops or intercrops and reduced weed management) is likely to increase the control of specialist herbivores by generalist predators.
Project description:ABSTRACT The processes and mechanisms of community assembly and its relationships to community functioning are central issues in ecology. Both deterministic and stochastic factors play important roles in shaping community composition and structure, but the connection between community assembly and ecosystem functioning remains elusive, especially in microbial communities. Here, we used microbial electrolysis cell reactors as a model system to examine the roles of stochastic assembly in determining microbial community structure and functions. Under identical environmental conditions with the same source community, ecological drift (i.e., initial stochastic colonization) and subsequent biotic interactions created dramatically different communities with little overlap among 14 identical reactors, indicating that stochastic assembly played dominant roles in determining microbial community structure. Neutral community modeling analysis revealed that deterministic factors also played significant roles in shaping microbial community structure in these reactors. Most importantly, the newly formed communities differed substantially in community functions (e.g., H2 production), which showed strong linkages to community structure. This study is the first to demonstrate that stochastic assembly plays a dominant role in determining not only community structure but also ecosystem functions. Elucidating the links among community assembly, biodiversity, and ecosystem functioning is critical to understanding ecosystem functioning, biodiversity preservation, and ecosystem management. IMPORTANCE Microorganisms are the most diverse group of life known on earth. Although it is well documented that microbial natural biodiversity is extremely high, it is not clear why such high diversity is generated and maintained. Numerous studies have established the roles of niche-based deterministic factors (e.g., pH, temperature, and salt) in shaping microbial biodiversity, the importance of stochastic processes in generating microbial biodiversity is rarely appreciated. Moreover, while microorganisms mediate many ecosystem processes, the relationship between microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning remains largely elusive. Using a well-controlled laboratory system, this study provides empirical support for the dominant role of stochastic assembly in creating variations of microbial diversity and the first explicit evidence for the critical role of community assembly in influencing ecosystem functioning. The results presented in this study represent important contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms, especially stochastic processes, involved in shaping microbial biodiversity.
Project description:Microbial community assembly is influenced by a continuum (actually the trade-off) between deterministic and stochastic processes. An understanding of this ecological continuum is of great significance for drawing inferences about the effects of community assembly processes on microbial community structure and function. Here, we investigated the driving forces of soil microbial community assembly in three different environmental contexts located on subalpine coniferous forests of the Loess Plateau in Shanxi, China. The variation in null deviations and phylogenetic analysis showed that a continuum existed between deterministic and stochastic processes in shaping the microbial community structure, but deterministic processes prevailed. By integrating the results of redundancy analysis (RDA), multiple regression tree (MRT) analysis and correlation analysis, we found that soil organic carbon (SOC) was the main driver of the community structure and diversity patterns. In addition, we also found that SOC had a great influence on the community assembly processes. In conclusion, our results show that deterministic processes always dominated assembly processes in shaping bacterial community structure along the three habitat contexts.