|Title||Limits to the three domains of life: Lessons from community assembly along an Antarctic salinity gradient|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2022|
|Authors||Jiang, X, Van Horn, DJ, Okie, JG, Buelow, HN, Schwartz, E, Colman, DR, Feeser, KL, Takacs-Vesbach, CD|
|Keywords||Antarctica, inter-domain response, McMurdo Dry Valleys, salinity, species richness patterns|
Extremophiles exist among all three domains of life; however, physiological mechanisms for surviving harsh environmental conditions differ among Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. Consequently, we expect that domain-specific variation of diversity and community assembly patterns exist along environmental gradients in extreme environments. We investigated inter-domain community compositional differences along a high-elevation salinity gradient in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Conductivity for 24 soil samples collected along the gradient ranged widely from 50 to 8355 µS cm-1. Taxonomic richness varied among domains, with a total of 359 bacterial, 2 archaeal, 56 fungal, and 69 non-fungal eukaryotic operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Richness for bacteria, archaea, fungi, and non-fungal eukaryotes declined with increasing conductivity (all P < 0.05). Principal coordinate ordination analysis (PCoA) revealed significant (ANOSIM R = 0.97) groupings of low/high salinity bacterial OTUs, while OTUs from other domains were not significantly clustered. Bacterial beta diversity was unimodally distributed along the gradient and had a nested structure driven by species losses, whereas in fungi and non-fungal eukaryotes beta diversity declined monotonically without strong evidence of nestedness. Thus, while increased salinity acts as a stressor in all domains, the mechanisms driving community assembly along the gradient differ substantially between the domains.