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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Phylogenetic conservation of bacterial responses to soil nitrogen addition across continents.

  • Author(s): Isobe, Kazuo
  • Allison, Steven D
  • Khalili, Banafshe
  • Martiny, Adam C
  • Martiny, Jennifer BH
  • et al.

Soil microbial communities are intricately linked to ecosystem functioning such as nutrient cycling; therefore, a predictive understanding of how these communities respond to environmental changes is of great interest. Here, we test whether phylogenetic information can predict the response of bacterial taxa to nitrogen (N) addition. We analyze the composition of soil bacterial communities in 13 field experiments across 5 continents and find that the N response of bacteria is phylogenetically conserved at each location. Remarkably, the phylogenetic pattern of N responses is similar when merging data across locations. Thus, we can identify bacterial clades - the size of which are highly variable across the bacterial tree - that respond consistently to N addition across locations. Our findings suggest that a phylogenetic approach may be useful in predicting shifts in microbial community composition in the face of other environmental changes.

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