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Soil organic matter quantity and quality shape microbial community compositions of subtropical broadleaved forests

Ding, Junjun, Zhang, Yuguang, Wang, Mengmeng, Sun, Xin, Cong, Jing, Deng, Ye, Lu, Hui, Yuan, Tong, Van Nostrand, Joy D., Li, Diqiang, Zhou, Jizhong, Yang, Yunfeng
Molecular ecology 2015 v.24 no.20 pp. 5175-5185
Actinobacteria, Verrucomicrobium, biodiversity, biogeochemical cycles, broadleaved evergreens, carbon, deciduous forests, ecosystems, forest soils, genes, microarray technology, microbial communities, nutrients, plant communities, ribosomal RNA, soil microorganisms, soil organic matter, subtropics, China
As two major forest types in the subtropics, broadleaved evergreen and broadleaved deciduous forests have long interested ecologists. However, little is known about their belowground ecosystems despite their ecological importance in driving biogeochemical cycling. Here, we used Illumina MiSeq sequencing targeting 16S rRNA gene and a microarray named GeoChip targeting functional genes to analyse microbial communities in broadleaved evergreen and deciduous forest soils of Shennongjia Mountain of Central China, a region known as ‘The Oriental Botanic Garden’ for its extraordinarily rich biodiversity. We observed higher plant diversity and relatively richer nutrients in the broadleaved evergreen forest than the deciduous forest. In odds to our expectation that plant communities shaped soil microbial communities, we found that soil organic matter quantity and quality, but not plant community parameters, were the best predictors of microbial communities. Actinobacteria, a copiotrophic phylum, was more abundant in the broadleaved evergreen forest, while Verrucomicrobia, an oligotrophic phylum, was more abundant in the broadleaved deciduous forest. The density of the correlation network of microbial OTUs was higher in the broadleaved deciduous forest but its modularity was smaller, reflecting lower resistance to environment changes. In addition, keystone OTUs of the broadleaved deciduous forest were mainly oligotrophic. Microbial functional genes associated with recalcitrant carbon degradation were also more abundant in the broadleaved deciduous forests, resulting in low accumulation of organic matters. Collectively, these findings revealed the important role of soil organic matter in shaping microbial taxonomic and functional traits.