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Soil Microbiomes with Distinct Assemblies through Vertical Soil Profiles Drive the Cycling of Multiple Nutrients in Reforested Ecosystems

Shuo Jiao, Weimin Chen, Jieli Wang, Nini Du, Qiaoping Li, Gehong Wei.

Microbiome

DOI: 10.1186/s40168-018-0526-0

 

 

Abstract: Background: Soil microbiomes play an important role in the services and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known of their vertical responses to restoration process and their contributions to soil nutrient cycling in the subsurface profiles. Here, we investigated the community assembly of soil bacteria, archaea, and fungi along vertical (i.e., soil depths of 0–300 cm) and horizontal (i.e., distance from trees of 30–90 cm) profiles in a chronosequence of reforestation sites that represent over 30 years of restoration.

Results: In the superficial layers (0–80 cm), bacterial and fungal diversity decreased, whereas archaeal diversity increased with increasing soil depth. As reforestation proceeded over time, the vertical spatial variation in bacterial communities decreased, while that in archaeal and fungal communities increased. Vertical distributions of the soil microbiomes were more related to the variation in soil properties, while their horizontal distributions may be driven by a gradient effect of roots extending from the tree. Bacterial and archaeal beta-diversity were strongly related to multi-nutrient cycling in the soil, respectively, playing major roles in deep and superficial layers.

Conclusions: Taken together, these results reveal a new perspective on the vertical and horizontal spatial variation in soil microbiomes at the fine scale of single trees. Distinct response patterns underpinned the contributions of soil bacteria, archaea, and fungi as a function of subsurface nutrient cycling during the reforestation of ex-arable land.