The role of root community attributes in predicting soil fungal and bacterial community patterns



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López-Angulo, J. and Cruz, Marcelino de la and Chacon-Labella, Julia and Illuminati, Ángel de la and Matesanz, Silvia and Pescador, David and Pías Couso, María Beatriz and Sánchez, Ana M. and Escudero Alcántara, Adrián (2020) The role of root community attributes in predicting soil fungal and bacterial community patterns. New Phytologist, 228 . pp. 1070-1082. ISSN 0028-646X, ESSN 1469-8137

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Roots are assumed to play a major role in structuring soil microbial communities, but most studies exploring the relationships between microbes and plants at the community level have only used aboveground plant distribution as a proxy. However, a decoupling between belowground and aboveground plant components may occur due to differential spreading of plant canopies and root systems. Thus, soil microbe–plant links are not completely understood.
Using a combination of DNA metabarcoding and spatially explicit sampling at the plant neighbourhood scale, we assessed the influence of the plant root community on soil bacterial and fungal diversity (species richness, composition and b-diversity) in a dry Mediterranean scrubland.
We found that root composition and biomass, but not richness, predict unique fractions of variation in microbial richness and composition. Moreover, bacterial b-diversity was related to root b-diversity, while fungal b-diversity was related to aboveground plant b-diversity, suggesting that plants differently influence both microbial groups.
Our study highlights the role of plant distribution both belowground and aboveground, soil properties and other spatially structured factors in explaining the heterogeneity in soil microbial diversity. These results also show that incorporating data on both plant community compartments will further our understanding of the relationships between soil microbial and plant communities.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Bacterial and fungal diversity; Belowground plant community; DNA metabarcoding; Microbial communities; Plant–soil interactions; Roots; Soil biodiversity
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Ecology
Medical sciences > Biology > Microbiology
ID Code:62468
Deposited On:09 Oct 2020 10:25
Last Modified:13 Oct 2020 07:26

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