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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Soil bacterial endemism and potential functional redundancy in natural broadleaf forest along a latitudinal gradient

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Microorganisms play key roles in ecosystem processes and biogeochemical cycling, however, the relationship between soil microbial taxa diversity and their function in natural ecosystems is largely unknown. To determine how soil bacteria community and function are linked from the local to regional scale, we studied soil bacteria community composition, potential function and environmental conditions in natural and mature broadleaf forests along a latitudinal gradient in China, using the Illumina 16S rRNA sequencing and GeoChip technologies. The results showed strong biogeographic endemism pattern in soil bacteria were existed, and the spatial distance and climatic variables were the key controlling factors for this pattern. Therefore, dispersal limitation and environmental selection may represent two key processes in generating and maintaining the soil bacterial biogeographic pattern. By contrast, the soil bacterial potential function is highly convergent along the latitudinal gradient and there were highly differing bacterial community compositions, and the soil chemistry may include the main factors active in shaping the soil bacterial potential function. Therefore, the soil bacterial potential function may be affected by local gradients in resource availability, and predicting soil bacterial potential function requires knowledge of abiotic and biotic environmental factors.

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