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Resistance, resilience, and recovery of dryland soil bacterial communities across multiple disturbances

April 20, 2021

Dryland ecosystems are sensitive to perturbations and generally slow to recover post disturbance. The microorganisms residing in dryland soils are especially important as they contribute to soil structure and nutrient cycling. Disturbance can have particularly strong effects on dryland soil structure and function, yet the natural resistance and recovery of the microbial components of dryland soils has not been well documented. In this study, the recovery of surface soil bacterial communities from multiple physical and environmental disturbances is assessed. Samples were collected from three field sites in the vicinity of Moab, UT, United States, 6 to 7 years after physical and climate disturbance manipulations had been terminated, allowing for the assessment of community recovery. Additionally, samples were collected in a transect that included three habitat patches: the canopy zone soils under the dominant shrubs, the interspace soils that are colonized by biological soil crusts, and edge soils at the plot borders. Field site and habitat patch were significant factors structuring the bacterial communities, illustrating that sites and habitats harbored unique soil microbiomes. Across the different sites and disturbance treatments, there was evidence of significant bacterial community recovery, as bacterial biomass and diversity were not significantly different than control plots. There was, however, a small number of 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequence variants that distinguished particular treatments, suggesting that legacy effects of the disturbances still remained. Taken together, these data suggest that dryland bacterial communities may possess a previously unappreciated potential to recover within years of the original disturbance.

Publication Year 2021
Title Resistance, resilience, and recovery of dryland soil bacterial communities across multiple disturbances
DOI 10.3389/fmicb.2021.648455
Authors Blaire Steven, Michala Lee Phillips, Jayne Belnap, La Verne Gallegos-Graves, Cheryl R. Kuske, Sasha C. Reed
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Frontiers in Microbiology
Index ID 70224639
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center