Root and soil microbial communities constitute the below-ground plant microbiome, are drivers of nutrient cycling, and affect plant productivity. However, our understanding of their spatiotemporal patterns is confounded by exogenous factors that covary spatially, such as changes in host plant species, climate, and edaphic factors. These spatiotemporal patterns likely differ across microbiome domains (bacteria and fungi) and niches (root vs. soil).
To capture spatial patterns at a regional scale, we sampled the below-ground microbiome of switchgrass monocultures of five sites spanning > 3 degrees of latitude within the Great Lakes region. To capture temporal patterns, we sampled the below-ground microbiome across the growing season within a single site. We compared the strength of spatiotemporal factors to nitrogen addition determining the major drivers in our perennial cropping system. All microbial communities were most strongly structured by sampling site, though collection date also had strong effects; in contrast, nitrogen addition had little to no effect on communities. Though all microbial communities were found to have significant spatiotemporal patterns, sampling site and collection date better explained bacterial than fungal community structure, which appeared more defined by stochastic processes. Root communities, especially bacterial, were more temporally structured than soil communities which were more spatially structured, both across and within sampling sites. Finally, we characterized a core set of taxa in the switchgrass microbiome that persists across space and time. These core taxa represented < 6% of total species richness but > 27% of relative abundance, with potential nitrogen fixing bacteria and fungal mutualists dominating the root community and saprotrophs dominating the soil community.
Our results highlight the dynamic variability of plant microbiome composition and assembly across space and time, even within a single variety of a plant species. Root and soil fungal community compositions appeared spatiotemporally paired, while root and soil bacterial communities showed a temporal lag in compositional similarity suggesting active recruitment of soil bacteria into the root niche throughout the growing season. A better understanding of the drivers of these differential responses to space and time may improve our ability to predict microbial community structure and function under novel conditions.
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- Springer Science + Business Media
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- Environmental Microbiome
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- National Science Foundation
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Abstract Aims and background
The resurrection plant
Myrothamnus flabellifoliatolerates complete desiccation and is a great model for studying how plants cope with extreme drought. Root-associated microbes play a major role in stress tolerance and are an attractive target for enhancing drought tolerance in staple crops. However, how these dynamics play out under the most extreme water limitation remains underexplored. This study aimed to identify bacterial and fungal communities that tolerate extreme drought stress in the bulk soil, rhizosphere, and endosphere of M. flabellifolia. Methods
High-throughput amplicon sequencing was used to characterise the microbial communities associated with
M. flabellifolia. Results
The bacterial phyla that were most abundant across all compartments were
Acidobacteriota, Actinobacteriota, Chloroflexota, Planctomycetota,and Pseudomonadota, while the most abundant fungal phyla were Ascomycotaand Basidiomycota. Although the bulk soil hosted multiple beneficial root-associated microbes, the rhizosphere compartment showed the highest functional diversity of bacteria and fungi. In contrast, the endosphere exhibited a low abundance and diversity of microbes. These findings share consistent with the theory that M. flabellifoliarecruits soil microbes from the bulk to the rhizosphere and finally to the endosphere. It is possible that these microbes could promote drought tolerance in associated plant tissues. Conclusion
We find that compartments act as the major driver of microbial diversity, but the soil physicochemical factors also influence microbial composition. These results suggest that the root-associated microbiome of
M. flabellifoliais highly structured and may aid in plant function.
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These water bodies are within 15 km of the study site, within a landscape mosaic of row crops, grasslands, deciduous forest, and wetlands, with some residential development (Supplementary Fig. S2, Supplementary Table S2). Details of land use and cover change in the vicinity of KBS are given in Hamilton et al.48, and patterns in nutrient concentrations in local surface waters are further discussed in Hamilton62. Leaching estimates, modeled drainage, and data analysis Leaching was estimated at daily time steps and summarized as total leaching on a crop-year basis, defined from the date of planting or leaf emergence in a given year to the day prior to planting or emergence in the following year. TDP concentrations (mg L−1) of subsurface soil water were linearly interpolated between sampling dates during non-freezing periods (April–November) and over non-sampling periods (December–March) based on the preceding November and subsequent April samples. Daily rates of TDP leaching (kg ha−1) were calculated by multiplying concentration (mg L−1) by drainage rates (m3 ha−1 day−1) modeled by the Systems Approach for Land Use Sustainability (SALUS) model, a crop growth model that is well calibrated for KBS soil and environmental conditions. SALUS simulates yield and environmental outcomes in response to weather, soil, management (planting dates, plant population, irrigation, N fertilizer application, and tillage), and genetics63. The SALUS water balance sub-model simulates surface runoff, saturated and unsaturated water flow, drainage, root water uptake, and evapotranspiration during growing and non-growing seasons63. The SALUS model has been used in studies of evapotranspiration48,51,64 and nutrient leaching20,65,66,67 from KBS soils, and its predictions of growing-season evapotranspiration are consistent with independent measurements based on growing-season soil water drawdown53 and evapotranspiration measured by eddy covariance68. Phosphorus leaching was assumed insignificant on days when SALUS predicted no drainage. Volume-weighted mean TDP concentrations in leachate for each crop-year and for the entire 7-year study period were calculated as the total dissolved P leaching flux (kg ha−1) divided by the total drainage (m3 ha−1). One-way ANOVA with time (crop-year) as the fixed factor was conducted to compare total annual drainage rates, P leaching rates, volume-weighted mean TDP concentrations, and maximum aboveground biomass among the cropping systems over all seven crop-years as well as with TDP concentrations from local lakes, streams, and groundwater wells. When a significant (α = 0.05) difference was detected among the groups, we used the Tukey honest significant difference (HSD) post-hoc test to make pairwise comparisons among the groups. In the case of maximum aboveground biomass, we used the Tukey–Kramer method to make pairwise comparisons among the groups because the absence of poplar data after the 2013 harvest resulted in unequal sample sizes. We also used the Tukey–Kramer method to compare the frequency distributions of TDP concentrations in all of the soil leachate samples with concentrations in lakes, streams, and groundwater wells, since each sample category had very different numbers of measurements. Individual spreadsheets in “data table_leaching_dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen.xls” 1. annual precip_drainage 2. biomass_corn, perennial grasses 3. biomass_poplar 4. annual N leaching _vol-wtd conc 5. Summary_N leached 6. annual DOC leachin_vol-wtd conc 7. growing season length 8. correlation_nh4 VS no3 9. correlations_don VS no3_doc VS don Each spreadsheet is described below along with an explanation of variates. Note that ‘nan’ indicate data are missing or not available. First row indicates header; second row indicates units 1. Spreadsheet: annual precip_drainage Description: Precipitation measured from nearby Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Weather station, over 2009-2016 study period. Data shown in Figure 1; original data source for precipitation (https://lter.kbs.msu.edu/datatables/7). Drainage estimated from SALUS crop model. Note that drainage is percolation out of the root zone (0-125 cm). Annual precipitation and drainage values shown here are calculated for growing and non-growing crop periods. Variate Description year year of the observation crop “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” precip_G precipitation during growing period (milliMeter) precip_NG precipitation during non-growing period (milliMeter) drainage_G drainage during growing period (milliMeter) drainage_NG drainage during non-growing period (milliMeter) 2. Spreadsheet: biomass_corn, perennial grasses Description: Maximum aboveground biomass measurements from corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass and restored prairie plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2015. Data shown in Figure 2. Variate Description year year of the observation date day of the observation (mm/dd/yyyy) crop “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” replicate each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 station stations (S1, S2 and S3) of samplings within the plot. For more details, refer to link (https://data.sustainability.glbrc.org/protocols/156) species plant species that are rooted within the quadrat during the time of maximum biomass harvest. See protocol for more information, refer to link (http://lter.kbs.msu.edu/datatables/36) For maize biomass, grain and whole biomass reported in the paper (weed biomass or surface litter are excluded). Surface litter biomass not included in any crops; weed biomass not included in switchgrass and miscanthus, but included in grass mixture and prairie. fraction Fraction of biomass biomass_plot biomass per plot on dry-weight basis (Grams_Per_SquareMeter) biomass_ha biomass (megaGrams_Per_Hectare) by multiplying column biomass per plot with 0.01 3. Spreadsheet: biomass_poplar Description: Maximum aboveground biomass measurements from poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2015. Data shown in Figure 2. Note that poplar biomass was estimated from crop growth curves until the poplar was harvested in the winter of 2013-14. Variate Description year year of the observation method methods of poplar biomass sampling date day of the observation (mm/dd/yyyy) replicate each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 diameter_at_ground poplar diameter (milliMeter) at the ground diameter_at_15cm poplar diameter (milliMeter) at 15 cm height biomass_tree biomass per plot (Grams_Per_Tree) biomass_ha biomass (megaGrams_Per_Hectare) by multiplying biomass per tree with 0.01 4. Spreadsheet: annual N leaching_vol-wtd conc Description: Annual leaching rate (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) and volume-weighted mean N concentrations (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) of nitrate (no3) and dissolved organic nitrogen (don) in the leachate samples collected from corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2016. Data for nitrogen leached and volume-wtd mean N concentration shown in Figure 3a and Figure 3b, respectively. Note that ammonium (nh4) concentration were much lower and often undetectable (<0.07 milliGrams_N_Per_Liter). Also note that in 2009 and 2010 crop-years, data from some replicates are missing. Variate Description crop “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” crop-year year of the observation replicate each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 no3 leached annual leaching rates of nitrate (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) don leached annual leaching rates of don (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) vol-wtd no3 conc. Volume-weighted mean no3 concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) vol-wtd don conc. Volume-weighted mean don concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) 5. Spreadsheet: summary_N leached Description: Summary of total amount and forms of N leached (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) and the percent of applied N lost to leaching over the seven years for corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2016. Data for nitrogen amount leached shown in Figure 4a and percent of applied N lost shown in Figure 4b. Note the fraction of unleached N includes in harvest, accumulation in root biomass, soil organic matter or gaseous N emissions were not measured in the study. Variate Description crop “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” no3 leached annual leaching rates of nitrate (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) don leached annual leaching rates of don (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) N unleached N unleached (kiloGrams_N_Per_Hectare) in other sources are not studied % of N applied N lost to leaching % of N applied N lost to leaching 6. Spreadsheet: annual DOC leachin_vol-wtd conc Description: Annual leaching rate (kiloGrams_Per_Hectare) and volume-weighted mean N concentrations (milliGrams_Per_Liter) of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the leachate samples collected from corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2016. Data for DOC leached and volume-wtd mean DOC concentration shown in Figure 5a and Figure 5b, respectively. Note that in 2009 and 2010 crop-years, water samples were not available for DOC measurements. Variate Description crop “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” crop-year year of the observation replicate each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 doc leached annual leaching rates of nitrate (kiloGrams_Per_Hectare) vol-wtd doc conc. volume-weighted mean doc concentration (milliGrams_Per_Liter) 7. Spreadsheet: growing season length Description: Growing season length (days) of corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2009-2015. Date shown in Figure S2. Note that growing season is from the date of planting or emergence to the date of harvest (or leaf senescence in case of poplar). Variate Description crop “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” year year of the observation growing season length growing season length (days) 8. Spreadsheet: correlation_nh4 VS no3 Description: Correlation of ammonium (nh4+) and nitrate (no3-) concentrations (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) in the leachate samples from corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2013-2015. Data shown in Figure S3. Note that nh4+ concentration in the leachates was very low compared to no3- and don concentration and often undetectable in three crop-years (2013-2015) when measurements are available. Variate Description crop “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” date date of the observation (mm/dd/yyyy) replicate each crop has four replicated plots, R1, R2, R3 and R4 nh4 conc nh4 concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) no3 conc no3 concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) 9. Spreadsheet: correlations_don VS no3_doc VS don Description: Correlations of don and nitrate concentrations (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter); and doc (milliGrams_Per_Liter) and don concentrations (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) in the leachate samples of corn, switchgrass, miscanthus, native grass, restored prairie and poplar plots in Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Biomass Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) during 2013-2015. Data of correlation of don and nitrate concentrations shown in Figure S4 a and doc and don concentrations shown in Figure S4 b. Variate Description crop “corn” “switchgrass” “miscanthus” “nativegrass” “restored prairie” “poplar” year year of the observation don don concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) no3 no3 concentration (milliGrams_N_Per_Liter) doc doc concentration (milliGrams_Per_Liter)more » « less