Main content area

Climatic impacts on the bacterial community profiles of cork oak soils

Reis, Francisca, Soares-Castro, Pedro, Costa, Daniela, Tavares, Rui M., Baptista, Paula, Santos, Pedro M., Lino-Neto, Teresa
Applied soil ecology 2019 v.143 pp. 89-97
Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, DNA barcoding, Firmicutes, Quercus suber, bacterial communities, climatic factors, delta-Proteobacteria, drought, dry season, forest ecosystems, forest soils, forests, gamma-Proteobacteria, global warming, humid zones, hydrologic cycle, indicator species, microbiome, soil bacteria, storms, temperature, Mediterranean region
Climate changes comprise increasing global temperature and water cycle deregulation (precipitation storms and long dry seasons). Many affected ecosystems are located within the Mediterranean basin, where cork oak (Quercus suber L.) is one of the most important forest ecosystems. Despite cork oak tolerance to drought, the decrease of water availability and increase of temperature is causing a serious decline of cork oak populations. In the present work, the bacterial community of cork oak soils was assessed by metabarcoding using Illumina Miseq. Soils from seven independent cork oak forests were collected along a climate gradient. In all forest soils, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria were the richest and more abundant bacteria. Acidobacteria also presented a high relative abundance, and Chloroflexi was a rich phylum. The soil bacterial community diversity and composition was strongly affected by the climatic region where cork oak resides and specific bacterial taxa were differently affected by precipitation and temperature. Accordingly, cork oak bacterial communities clustered into three distinct groups, related with humid, sub-humid and arid/semi-arid climates. Driest and warmer forests presented more diverse bacterial communities than humid and coolest forests. However, driest climates presented more homogenous bacterial communities among forests than humid climates. Climate (mainly precipitation) revealed to be the strongest driver leading to significant variations of bacterial community profiles. The most impacted bacterial taxa by climatic variables were Proteobacteria, in particular Gammaproteobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria, Chloroflexi, and Firmicutes. Humid forests presented mainly Acidobacteria as good indicators of climate, whereas Actinobacteria members were better indicators for arid forests (mainly Gaiellales and Frankiales). Some indicator species for different climate conditions were members of the bacterial core of cork oak stands (7% of the total bacterial community). Taken together, different microbiomes were selected by the climate conditions in cork oak stands along a climate gradient and might provide the key to forest sustainability in times of global warming.