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Competition and habitat filtering jointly explain phylogenetic structure of soil bacterial communities across elevational gradients



Competition and habitat filtering jointly explain phylogenetic structure of soil bacterial communities across elevational gradients



Environmental Microbiology 20(7): 2386-2396



The importance of assembly processes in shaping biological communities is poorly understood, especially for microbes. Here, we report on the forces that structure soil bacterial communities along a 2000 m elevational gradient. We characterized the relative importance of habitat filtering and competition on phylogenetic structure and turnover in bacterial communities. Bacterial communities exhibited a phylogenetically clustered pattern and were more clustered with increasing elevation. Biotic factors (i.e., relative abundance of dominant bacterial lineages) appeared to be most important to the degree of clustering, evidencing the role of the competitive ability of entire clades in shaping the communities. Phylogenetic turnover showed the greatest correlation to elevation. After controlling the elevation, biotic factors showed greater correlation to phylogenetic turnover than all the habitat variables (i.e., climate, soil and vegetation). Structural equation modelling also identified that elevation and soil organic matter exerted indirect effects on phylogenetic diversity and turnover by determining the dominance of microbial competitors. Our results suggest that competition among bacterial taxa induced by soil carbon contributes to the phylogenetic pattern across elevational gradient in the Tibetan Plateau. This highlights the importance of considering not only abiotic filtering but also biotic interactions in soil bacterial communities across stressful elevational gradients.

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Accession: 055568561

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 29687609

DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.14247


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