Bacterial community composition of divergent soil habitats from a polar desert.

TitleBacterial community composition of divergent soil habitats from a polar desert.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsGeyer, KM, Altrichter, AE, Takacs-Vesbach, C, Gooseff, MN, Barrett, JE
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Start Page490
Date Published08/2014
Type of ArticleShort Communication

Edaphic factors such as pH, organic matter, and salinity are often the most significant drivers of diversity patterns in soil bacterial communities. Desert ecosystems in particular are model locations for examining such relationships as food web complexity is low and the soil environment is biogeochemically heterogeneous. Here, we present the findings from a 16S rRNA gene sequencing approach used to observe the differences in diversity and community composition among three divergent soil habitats of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Results show that alpha diversity is significantly lowered in high pH soils, which contain higher proportions of the phyla Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria, while mesic soils with higher soil organic carbon (and ammonium) content contain high proportions of Nitrospira, a nitrite-oxidizing bacteria. Taxonomic community resolution also had a significant impact on our conclusions, as pH was the primary predictor of phylum-level diversity, while moisture was the most significant predictor of diversity at the genus level. Predictive power also increased with increasing taxonomic resolution, suggesting a potential increase in nic