Project description:Soil transplant serves as a proxy to simulate climate change in realistic climate regimes. Here, we assessed the effects of climate warming and cooling on soil microbial communities, which are key drivers in Earth’s biogeochemical cycles, four years after soil transplant over large transects from northern (N site) to central (NC site) and southern China (NS site) and vice versa. Four years after soil transplant, soil nitrogen components, microbial biomass, community phylogenetic and functional structures were altered. Microbial functional diversity, measured by a metagenomic tool named GeoChip, and phylogenetic diversity are increased with temperature, while microbial biomass were similar or decreased. Nevertheless, the effects of climate change was overridden by maize cropping, underscoring the need to disentangle them in research. Mantel tests and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) demonstrated that vegetation, climatic factors (e.g., temperature and precipitation), soil nitrogen components and CO2 efflux were significantly correlated to the microbial community composition. Further investigation unveiled strong correlations between carbon cycling genes and CO2 efflux in bare soil but not cropped soil, and between nitrogen cycling genes and nitrification, which provides mechanistic understanding of these microbe-mediated processes and empowers an interesting possibility of incorporating bacterial gene abundance in greenhouse gas emission modeling. Fifty four samples were collected from three soil types (Phaeozem,Cambisol,Acrisol) in three sites (Hailun, Fengqiu and Yingtan) along a latitude with reciprocal transplant; Both with and without maize cropping in each site; Three replicates in every treatments.
Project description:How diversity influences the stability of a community function is a major question in ecology. However, only limited empirical investigations of the diversity-stability relationship in soil microbial communities have been undertaken, despite the fundamental role of microbial communities in driving carbon and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. In this study, we conducted a microcosm experiment to investigate the relationship between microbial diversity and stability of soil decomposition activities against changes in decomposition substrate quality by manipulating microbial community using selective biocides. We found that soil respiration rates and degradation enzyme activities by a coexisting fungal and bacterial community (a taxonomically diverse community) are more stable against changes in substrate quality (plant leaf materials) than those of a fungi-dominated or a bacteria-dominated community (less diverse community). Flexible changes in the microbial community composition and/or physiological state in the coexisting community against changes in substrate quality, as inferred by the soil lipid profile, may be the mechanism underlying this positive diversity-stability relationship. Our experiment demonstrated that the previously found positive diversity-stability relationship could also be valid in the soil microbial community. Our results also imply that the functional/taxonomic diversity and community ecology of soil microbes should be incorporated into the context of climate-ecosystem feedbacks. Changes in substrate quality, which could be induced by climate change, have impacts on decomposition process and carbon dioxide emission from soils, but such impacts may be attenuated by the functional diversity of soil microbial communities.
Project description:Soil microbial community is a complex blackbox that requires a multi-conceptual approach (Hultman et al., 2015; Bastida et al., 2016). Most methods focus on evaluating total microbial community and fail to determine its active fraction (Blagodatskaya & Kuzyakov 2013). This issue has ecological consequences since the behavior of the active community is more important (or even essential) and can be different to that of the total community. The sensitivity of the active microbial community can be considered as a biological mechanism that regulates the functional responses of soil against direct (i.e. forest management) and indirect (i.e. climate change) human-induced alterations. Indeed, it has been highglihted that the diversity of the active community (analyzed by metaproteomics) is more connected to soil functionality than the that of the total community (analyzed by 16S rRNA gene and ITS sequencing) (Bastida et al., 2016). Recently, the increasing application of soil metaproteomics is providing unprecedented, in-depth characterisation of the composition and functionality of active microbial communities and overall, allowing deeper insights into terrestrial microbial ecology (Chourey et al., 2012; Bastida et al., 2015, 2016; Keiblinger et al., 2016). Here, we predict the responsiveness of the soil microbial community to forest management in a climate change scenario. Particularly, we aim: i) to evaluate the impacts of 6-years of induced drought on the diversity, biomass and activity of the microbial community in a semiarid forest ecocosystem; and ii) to discriminate if forest management (thinning) influences the resistance of the microbial community against induced drought. Furthermore, we aim to ascertain if the functional diversity of each phylum is a trait that can be used to predict changes in microbial abundance and ecosystem functioning.
Project description:Microorganisms are critical in mediating carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling processes in soils. Yet, it has long been debated whether the processes underlying biogeochemical cycles are affected by the composition and diversity of the soil microbial community or not. The composition and diversity of soil microbial communities can be influenced by various environmental factors, which in turn are known to impact biogeochemical processes. The objectives of this study were to test effects of multiple edaphic drivers individually and represented as the multivariate soil environment interacting with microbial community composition and diversity, and concomitantly on multiple soil functions (i.e. soil enzyme activities, soil C and N processes). We employed high-throughput sequencing (Illumina MiSeq) to analyze bacterial/archaeal and fungal community composition by targeting the 16S rRNA gene and the ITS1 region of soils collected from three land uses (cropland, grassland and forest) deriving from two bedrock forms (silicate and limestone). Based on this data set we explored single and combined effects of edaphic variables on soil microbial community structure and diversity, as well as on soil enzyme activities and several soil C and N processes. We found that both bacterial/archaeal and fungal communities were shaped by the same edaphic factors, with most single edaphic variables and the combined soil environment representation exerting stronger effects on bacterial/archaeal communities than on fungal communities, as demonstrated by (partial) Mantel tests. We also found similar edaphic controls on the bacterial/archaeal/fungal richness and diversity. Soil C processes were only directly affected by the soil environment but not affected by microbial community composition. In contrast, soil N processes were significantly related to bacterial/archaeal community composition and bacterial/archaeal/fungal richness/diversity but not directly affected by the soil environment. This indicates direct control of the soil environment on soil C processes and indirect control of the soil environment on soil N processes by structuring the microbial communities. The study further highlights the importance of edaphic drivers and microbial communities (i.e. composition and diversity) on important soil C and N processes.
Project description:Plant diversity drives changes in the soil microbial community which may result in alterations in ecosystem functions. However, the governing factors between the composition of soil microbial communities and plant diversity are not well understood. We investigated the impact of plant diversity (plant species richness and functional group richness) and plant functional group identity on soil microbial biomass and soil microbial community structure in experimental grassland ecosystems. Total microbial biomass and community structure were determined by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. The diversity gradient covered 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 60 plant species and 1, 2, 3 and 4 plant functional groups (grasses, legumes, small herbs and tall herbs). In May 2007, soil samples were taken from experimental plots and from nearby fields and meadows. Beside soil texture, plant species richness was the main driver of soil microbial biomass. Structural equation modeling revealed that the positive plant diversity effect was mainly mediated by higher leaf area index resulting in higher soil moisture in the top soil layer. The fungal-to-bacterial biomass ratio was positively affected by plant functional group richness and negatively by the presence of legumes. Bacteria were more closely related to abiotic differences caused by plant diversity, while fungi were more affected by plant-derived organic matter inputs. We found diverse plant communities promoted faster transition of soil microbial communities typical for arable land towards grassland communities. Although some mechanisms underlying the plant diversity effect on soil microorganisms could be identified, future studies have to determine plant traits shaping soil microbial community structure. We suspect differences in root traits among different plant communities, such as root turnover rates and chemical composition of root exudates, to structure soil microbial communities.
Project description:Sugarcane-soybean intercropping has been widely used to control disease and improve nutrition in the field. However, the response of the soil microbial community diversity and structure to intercropping is not well understood. Since microbial diversity corresponds to soil quality and plant health, a pot experiment was conducted with sugarcane intercropped with soybean. Rhizosphere soil was collected 40 days after sowing, and MiSeq sequencing was utilized to analyze the soil microbial community diversity and composition. Soil columns were used to assess the influence of intercropping on soil microbial activity (soil respiration and carbon-use efficiency: nitrogen-use efficiency ratio). PICRUSt and FUNGuild analysis were conducted to predict microbial functional profiling. Our results showed that intercropping decreased pH by approximately 8.9% and enhanced the soil organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon, and available nitrogen (N) by 5.5%, 13.4%, and 10.0%, respectively. These changes in physicochemical properties corresponded to increased microbial diversity and shifts in soil microbial communities. Microbial community correlated significantly (p < 0.05) with soil respiration rates and nutrient use efficiency. Furthermore, intercropping influenced microbial functions, such as carbon fixation pathways in prokaryotes, citrate cycle (TCA cycle) of bacteria and wood saprotrophs of fungi. These overrepresented functions might accelerate nutrient conversion and control phytopathogens in soil.
Project description:Accurate description of a microbial community is an important first step in understanding the role of its components in ecosystem function. A method for surveying microbial communities termed Serial Analysis of Ribosomal DNA (SARD) is described here. Through a series of molecular cloning steps, short DNA sequence tags are recovered from the fifth variable (V5) region of the prokaryotic 16S rRNA gene from microbial communities. These tags are ligated to form concatemers comprised of 20-40 tags which are cloned and identified by DNA sequencing. Four agricultural soil samples were profiled with SARD to assess the method’s utility. A total of 37,008 SARD tags comprising 3,127 unique sequences were identified. Comparison of duplicate profiles from one soil genomic DNA preparation revealed the method was highly reproducible. The large numbers of singleton tags together with non-parametric richness estimates indicated a significant amount of sequence tag diversity remained undetected with this level of sampling. The abundance classes of the observed tags were scale-free and conformed to a power law distribution. Numerically, the majority of the total tags observed belonged to abundance classes that were each present at less than 1% of the community. Over 99% of the unique tags individually made up less than 1% of the community. Therefore, from either numerical or diversity standpoints, low abundant taxa comprised a significant proportion of the microbial communities examined and could potentially make a large contribution to ecosystem function. SARD may provide a means to explore the ecological role of these rare members of microbial communities in qualitative and quantitative terms. Keywords: SARD profiles, culture-independent study, microbial community survey, microbial census Overall design: Four soil samples were profiled with SARD. The four samples were made up of two pairs of samples: Pol-W and Pol-NE; and WP43 and WP45. The members of each pair were separated by about 25 m. The two pairs of samples were separated by about 7 km.
Project description:Tibet is one of the most threatened regions by climate warming, thus understanding how its microbial communities function may be of high importance for predicting microbial responses to climate changes. Here, we report a study to profile soil microbial structural genes, which infers functional roles of microbial communities, along four sites/elevations of a Tibetan mountainous grassland, aiming to explore potential microbial responses to climate changes via a strategy of space-for-time substitution. Using a microarray-based metagenomics tool named GeoChip 4.0, we showed that microbial communities were distinct for most but not all of the sites. Substantial variations were apparent in stress, N and C cycling genes, but they were in line with the functional roles of these genes. Cold shock genes were more abundant at higher elevations. Also, gdh converting ammonium into urea was more abundant at higher elevations while ureC converting urea into ammonium was less abundant, which was consistent with soil ammonium contents. Significant correlations were observed between N-cycling genes (ureC, gdh and amoA) and nitrous oxide flux, suggesting that they contributed to community metabolism. Lastly, we found by CCA, Mantel tests and the similarity tests that soil pH, temperature, NH4+–N and vegetation diversity accounted for the majority (81.4%) of microbial community variations, suggesting that these four attributes were major factors affecting soil microbial communities. Based on these observations, we predict that climate changes in the Tibetan grasslands are very likely to change soil microbial community functional structure, with particular impacts on microbial N cycling genes and consequently microbe-mediated soil N dynamics. Twelve samples were collected from four elevations (3200, 3400, 3600 and 3800 m) along a Tibetan grassland; Three replicates in every elevation
Project description:Soil salinization is a growing environmental problem caused by both natural and human activities. Excessive salinity in soil suppresses growth, decreases species diversity, and alters the community composition of plants; however, the effect of salinity on soil microbial communities is poorly understood. Here, we characterize the soil microbial community along a natural salinity gradient in Gurbantunggut Desert, Northwestern China. Microbial diversity linearly decreased with increases in salinity, and community dissimilarity significantly increased with salinity differences. Soil salinity showed a strong effect on microbial community dissimilarity, even after controlling for the effects of spatial distance and other environmental variables. Microbial phylotypes (n = 270) belonging to Halobacteria, Nitriliruptoria, [Rhodothermi], Gammaproteobacteria, and Alphaproteobacteria showed a high-salinity niche preference. Out of nine potential phenotypes predicted by BugBase, oxygen-related phenotypes showed a significant relationship with salinity content. To explore the community assembly processes, we used null models of within-community (nearest-taxon index [NTI]) and between-community (βNTI) phylogenetic composition. NTI showed a significantly negative relationship with salinity, suggesting that the microbial community was less phylogenetically clustered in more-saline soils. βNTI, the between-community analogue of NTI, showed that deterministic processes have overtaken stochastic processes across all sites, suggesting the importance of environmental filtering in microbial community assembly. Taken together, these results suggest the importance of salinity in soil microbial community composition and assembly processes in a desert ecosystem. IMPORTANCE Belowground microorganisms are indispensable components for nutrient cycling in desert ecosystems, and understanding how they respond to increased salinity is essential for managing and ameliorating salinization. Our sequence-based data revealed that microbial diversity decreased with increasing salinity, and certain salt-tolerant phylotypes and phenotypes showed a positive relationship with salinity. Using a null modeling approach to estimate microbial community assembly processes along a salinity gradient, we found that salinity imposed a strong selection pressure on the microbial community, which resulted in a dominance of deterministic processes. Studying microbial diversity and community assembly processes along salinity gradients is essential in understanding the fundamental ecological processes in desert ecosystems affected by salinization.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Grazing is a major modulator of biodiversity and productivity in grasslands. However, our understanding of grazing-induced changes in below-ground communities, processes, and soil productivity is limited. Here, using a long-term enclosed grazing meadow steppe, we investigated the impacts of grazing on the soil organic carbon (SOC) turnover, the microbial community composition, resistance and activity under seasonal changes, and the microbial contributions to soil productivity. RESULTS:The results demonstrated that grazing had significant impacts on soil microbial communities and ecosystem functions in meadow steppe. The highest microbial ?-diversity was observed under light grazing intensity, while the highest ?-diversity was observed under moderate grazing intensity. Grazing shifted the microbial composition from fungi dominated to bacteria dominated and from slow growing to fast growing, thereby resulting in a shift from fungi-dominated food webs primarily utilizing recalcitrant SOC to bacteria-dominated food webs mainly utilizing labile SOC. Moreover, the higher fungal recalcitrant-SOC-decomposing activities and bacterial labile-SOC-decomposing activities were observed in fungi- and bacteria-dominated communities, respectively. Notably, the robustness of bacterial community and the stability of bacterial activity were associated with ?-diversity, while this was not the case for the robustness of fungal community and its associated activities. Finally, we observed that microbial ?-diversity rather than SOC turnover rate can predict soil productivity. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings indicate the strong influence of grazing on soil microbial community, SOC turnover, and soil productivity and the important positive role of soil microbial ?-diversity in steering the functions of meadow steppe ecosystems.