skip to main content


Title: Phylogenetic conservation of bacterial responses to soil nitrogen addition across continents
Abstract

Soil microbial communities are intricately linked to ecosystem functioning such as nutrient cycling; therefore, a predictive understanding of how these communities respond to environmental changes is of great interest. Here, we test whether phylogenetic information can predict the response of bacterial taxa to nitrogen (N) addition. We analyze the composition of soil bacterial communities in 13 field experiments across 5 continents and find that the N response of bacteria is phylogenetically conserved at each location. Remarkably, the phylogenetic pattern of N responses is similar when merging data across locations. Thus, we can identify bacterial clades – the size of which are highly variable across the bacterial tree – that respond consistently to N addition across locations. Our findings suggest that a phylogenetic approach may be useful in predicting shifts in microbial community composition in the face of other environmental changes.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10153402
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Volume:
10
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2041-1723
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Summary

    Allelopathy is a common and important stressor that shapes plant communities and can alter soil microbiomes, yet little is known about the direct effects of allelochemical addition on bacterial and fungal communities or the potential for allelochemical‐selected microbiomes to mediate plant performance responses, especially in habitats naturally structured by allelopathy.

    Here, we present the first community‐wide investigation of microbial mediation of allelochemical effects on plant performance by testing how allelopathy affects soil microbiome structure and how these microbial changes impact germination and productivity across 13 plant species.

    The soil microbiome exhibited significant changes to ‘core’ bacterial and fungal taxa, bacterial composition, abundance of functionally important bacterial and fungal taxa, and predicted bacterial functional genes after the addition of the dominant allelochemical native to this habitat. Furthermore, plant performance was mediated by the allelochemical‐selected microbiome, with allelopathic inhibition of plant productivity moderately mitigated by the microbiome.

    Through our findings, we present a potential framework to understand the strength of plant–microbial interactions in the presence of environmental stressors, in which frequency of the ecological stress may be a key predictor of microbiome‐mediation strength.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Interstitial water or pore water occupies the space between soil particles and provides “hotspots” and “fluvial networks” for microbial activities in floodplain soil. However, to date, we know very little about the microorganisms living in pore water and how they respond to environmental changes. This study aimed to understand microbial distribution and assemblage in riparian pore waters, and how they respond to water chemistry and redox gradients associated with hydrological processes.

    We analysed the annual changes of porewater microbial communities from the east and west banks of the White Clay Creek, a site at the Christina River Basin – Critical Zone Observatory, Pennsylvania, USA. Microbial abundances were quantified by epifluorescence microscopy and detailed community structures were characterised by high‐throughput sequencing. Water chemistry and redox gradients were also monitored and recorded, and their interactions with porewater microbiomes were analysed using correlations and multivariate analyses.

    Abundance of microbial cells increased during summer and late autumn. Wetland porewater microbiomes mainly contained Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Nitrospirae and Proteobacteria, and microbiome structures were easily distinguishable from those in the underlying hyporheic gravel layer. Seasonal dynamics of bacterial community structure in the east and west wetlands were distinct, responding to floodplain topography and associated hydrological/geochemical processes. Iron (Fe)‐cycling bacteria (mainly Gallionellaceae andRhodoferaxspp.) dominated the porewater microbiome, and their relative abundance was significantly higher in the east than the west wetland. Furthermore, Fe‐oxidising bacteria (Gallionellaceae) were negatively correlated with Fe‐reducing bacteria (Rhodoferaxspp.) at the east wetland.

    Microbial abundances (cell density) in pore waters showed similar seasonal patterns across stream banks, but microbial community structure did not. Microbiome assembly in pore water is correlated with water chemistry and redox gradients primarily associated with local hydrological processes.

    As a consequence of their significance for carbon (C) mineralisation and Fe reduction at terrestrial–aquatic interfaces, microbiomes in riparian pore waters and associated microbial activity play an essential role in C and mineral dynamics. These findings will inform future studies of the response of freshwater ecosystems to hydrological dynamics influenced by global climate change.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Global change alters ecosystems and their functioning, and biotic interactions can either buffer or amplify such changes. We utilized a long‐term nitrogen (N) addition and species removal experiment in the Front Range of Colorado, USA to determine whether a codominant forb and a codominant grass, with different effects on nutrient cycling and plant community structure, would buffer or amplify the effects of simulated N deposition on soil bacterial and fungal communities. While the plant community was strongly shaped by both the presence of dominant species and N addition, we did not find a mediating effect of the plant community on soil microbial response to N. In contrast to our hypothesis, we found a decoupling of the plant and microbial communities such that the soil microbial community shifted under N independently of directional shifts in the plant community. These findings suggest there are not strong cascading effects of N deposition across the plant–soil interface in our system.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Environmental temperature can alter the composition, diversity, and function of ectothermic vertebrate gut microbial communities, which may result in negative consequences for host physiology, or conversely, increase phenotypic plasticity and persistence in harsh conditions. The magnitude of either of these effects will depend on the length of time animals are exposed to extreme temperatures, and how quickly the composition and function of the gut microbiota can respond to temperature change. However, the temporal effects of temperature on gut microbiota are currently unknown. Here, we investigated the length of time required for increased temperature to alter the composition of gut bacterial communities in tadpoles of two frog species, the green frog,Lithobates clamitans, and its congener, the globally invasive American bullfrog,L. catesbeianus. We also explored the potential functional consequences of these changes by comparing predicted metagenomic profiles across temperature treatments at the last experimental time point. Bullfrog‐associated microbial communities were more plastic than those of the green frog. Specifically, bullfrog communities were altered by increased temperature within hours, while green frog communities took multiple days to exhibit significant changes. Further, over ten times more bullfrog bacterial functional pathways were temperature‐dependent compared to the green frog. These results support our hypothesis that bullfrog gut microbial communities would respond more rapidly to temperature change, potentially bolstering their ability to exploit novel environments. More broadly, we have revealed that even short‐term increases in environmental temperature, expected to occur frequently under global climate change, can alter the gut microbiota of ectothermic vertebrates.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract Background

    Antarctica and its unique biodiversity are increasingly at risk from the effects of global climate change and other human influences. A significant recent element underpinning strategies for Antarctic conservation has been the development of a system of Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Regions (ACBRs). The datasets supporting this classification are, however, dominated by eukaryotic taxa, with contributions from the bacterial domain restricted to Actinomycetota and Cyanobacteriota. Nevertheless, the ice-free areas of the Antarctic continent and the sub-Antarctic islands are dominated in terms of diversity by bacteria. Our study aims to generate a comprehensive phylogenetic dataset of Antarctic bacteria with wide geographical coverage on the continent and sub-Antarctic islands, to investigate whether bacterial diversity and distribution is reflected in the current ACBRs.

    Results

    Soil bacterial diversity and community composition did not fully conform with the ACBR classification. Although 19% of the variability was explained by this classification, the largest differences in bacterial community composition were between the broader continental and maritime Antarctic regions, where a degree of structural overlapping within continental and maritime bacterial communities was apparent, not fully reflecting the division into separate ACBRs. Strong divergence in soil bacterial community composition was also apparent between the Antarctic/sub-Antarctic islands and the Antarctic mainland. Bacterial communities were partially shaped by bioclimatic conditions, with 28% of dominant genera showing habitat preferences connected to at least one of the bioclimatic variables included in our analyses. These genera were also reported as indicator taxa for the ACBRs.

    Conclusions

    Overall, our data indicate that the current ACBR subdivision of the Antarctic continent does not fully reflect bacterial distribution and diversity in Antarctica. We observed considerable overlap in the structure of soil bacterial communities within the maritime Antarctic region and within the continental Antarctic region. Our results also suggest that bacterial communities might be impacted by regional climatic and other environmental changes. The dataset developed in this study provides a comprehensive baseline that will provide a valuable tool for biodiversity conservation efforts on the continent. Further studies are clearly required, and we emphasize the need for more extensive campaigns to systematically sample and characterize Antarctic and sub-Antarctic soil microbial communities.

     
    more » « less