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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  2. High latitude ecosystems are characterized by cold soils and long winters, with much of their biogeochemistry directly or indirectly controlled by temperature. Climate warming has led to an expansion of shrubby plant communities across tussock tundra, but whether these clear aboveground shifts correspond to changes in the microbial community belowground remains less certain. Using bromodeoxyuridine to label growing cells, we evaluated how total and actively growing bacterial communities varied throughout a year and following 22 years of passive summer warming. We found that changes in total and actively growing bacterial community structures were correlated with edaphic factors and time point sampled, but were unaffected by warming. The aboveground plant community had become more shrub-dominated with warming at this site, and so our results indicate that belowground bacterial communities did not track changes in the aboveground plant community. As such, studies that have used space-for-time methods to predict how increased shrub cover has altered bacterial communities may not be representative of how the microbial community will be affected by in situ changes in the plant community as the Arctic continues to warm.
  3. Dunning Hotopp, Julie C. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Here, we present the draft genome sequence of a novel species of the genus Singulisphaera (phylum Planctomycetes , family Isosphaeraceae ) isolated from soil. Singulisphaera sp. strain GP187 has a relatively large mobilome and numerous novel genes that may contribute to the production of bioactive molecules.
  4. Newton, Irene L. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Frankiaceae are bacterial endosymbionts that are also found free-living in soil. Here, we present the genome sequences of two novel bacterial members of the order Frankiales , class Actinobacteria , isolated from temperate terrestrial forest soils. The genomes for MT45 and GAS493 indicate a genetic capacity for carbohydrate degradation but not nitrogen fixation.
  5. Soils store more carbon than the biosphere and atmosphere combined, and the efficiency to which soil microorganisms allocate carbon to growth rather than respiration is increasingly considered a proxy for the soil capacity to store carbon. This carbon use efficiency (CUE) is measured via different methods, and more recently, the 18O-H2O method has been embraced as a significant improvement for measuring CUE of soil microbial communities. Based on extrapolating 18O incorporation into DNA to new biomass, this measurement makes various implicit assumptions about the microbial community at hand. Here we conducted a literature review to evaluate how viable these assumptions are and then developed a mathematical model to test how violating them affects estimates of the growth component of CUE in soil. We applied this model to previously collected data from two kinds of soil microbial communities. By changing one parameter at a time, we confirmed our previous observation that CUE was reduced by fungal removal. Our results also show that depending on the microbial community composition, there can be substantial discrepancies between estimated and true microbial growth. Of the numerous implicit assumptions that might be violated, not accounting for the contribution of sources of oxygen other than extracellular watermore »to DNA leads to a consistent underestimation of CUE. We present a framework that allows researchers to evaluate how their experimental conditions may influence their 18O-H2O-based CUE measurements and suggest the parameters that need further constraining to more accurately quantify growth and CUE.« less
  6. Giovannoni, Stephen J. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The strategy that microbial decomposers take with respect to using substrate for growth versus maintenance is one essential biological determinant of the propensity of carbon to remain in soil. To quantify the environmental sensitivity of this key physiological trade-off, we characterized the carbon use efficiency (CUE) of 23 soil bacterial isolates across seven phyla at three temperatures and with up to four substrates. Temperature altered CUE in both an isolate-specific manner and a substrate-specific manner. We searched for genes correlated with the temperature sensitivity of CUE on glucose and deemed those functional genes which were similarly correlated with CUE on other substrates to be validated as markers of CUE. Ultimately, we did not identify any such robust functional gene markers of CUE or its temperature sensitivity. However, we found a positive correlation between rRNA operon copy number and CUE, opposite what was expected. We also found that inefficient taxa increased their CUE with temperature, while those with high CUE showed a decrease in CUE with temperature. Together, our results indicate that CUE is a flexible parameter within bacterial taxa and that the temperature sensitivity of CUE is better explained by observed physiology than by genomic composition across diverse taxa.more »We conclude that the bacterial CUE response to temperature and substrate is more variable than previously thought. IMPORTANCE Soil microbes respond to environmental change by altering how they allocate carbon to growth versus respiration—or carbon use efficiency (CUE). Ecosystem and Earth System models, used to project how global soil C stocks will continue to respond to the climate crisis, often assume that microbes respond homogeneously to changes in the environment. In this study, we quantified how CUE varies with changes in temperature and substrate quality in soil bacteria and evaluated why CUE characteristics may differ between bacterial isolates and in response to altered growth conditions. We found that bacterial taxa capable of rapid growth were more efficient than those limited to slow growth and that taxa with high CUE were more likely to become less efficient at higher temperatures than those that were less efficient to begin with. Together, our results support the idea that the CUE temperature response is constrained by both growth rate and CUE and that this partly explains how bacteria acclimate to a warming world.« less