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Geographic patterns of co-occurrence network topological features for soil microbiota at continental scale in eastern China


Soil microbiota play a critical role in soil biogeochemical processes and have a profound effect on soil functions. Recent studies have revealed microbial co-occurrence patterns in soil microbial communities, yet the geographic pattern of topological features in soil microbial co-occurrence networks at the continental scale are largely unknown. Here, we investigated the shifts of topological features in co-occurrence networks inferred from soil microbiota along a continental scale in eastern China. Integrating archaeal, bacterial and fungal community datasets, we inferred a meta-community co-occurrence network and analyzed node-level and network-level topological shifts associated with five climatic regions. Both node-level and network-level topological features revealed geographic patterns wherein microorganisms in the northern regions had closer relationships but had a lower interaction influence than those in the southern regions. We further identified topological differences associated with taxonomic groups and demonstrated that co-occurrence patterns were random for archaea and non-random for bacteria and fungi. Given that microbial interactions may contribute to soil functions more than species diversity, this geographic shift of topological features provides new insight into studying microbial biogeographic patterns, their organization and impacts on soil-associated function.

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