Assessing microbial biogeography by using a metagenomic approach

Soils are highly complex ecosystems and are considered as one of the Earth’s main reservoirs of biological diversity. Bacteria account for a major part of this biodiversity, and it is now clear that such microorganisms have a key role in soil functioning processes. However, environmental factors regulating the diversity of below-ground bacteria still need to be investigated, which limits our understanding of the distribution of such bacteria at various spatial scales. The overall objectives of this study were: (i) to determine the spatial patterning of bacterial community diversity in soils at a broad scale, and (ii) to rank the environmental filters most influencing this distribution.
This study was performed at the scale of the France by using the French Soil Quality Monitoring Network. This network includes more than 2,200 soil samples along a systematic grid sampling. For each soil, bacterial diversity was characterized using a pyrosequencing approach targeting the 16S rRNA genes directly amplified from soil DNA, obtaining more than 18 million of high-quality sequences.
This study provides the first estimates of microbial diversity at the scale of France, with for example, bacterial richness ranging from 555 to 2,007 OTUs (on average: 1,289 OTUs). It also provides the first extensive map of bacterial diversity, as well as of major bacterial taxa, revealing a bacterial heterogeneous and spatially structured distribution at the scale of France. The main factors driving bacterial community distribution are the soil physico-chemical properties (pH, texture...) and land use (forest, grassland, crop system...), evidencing that bacterial spatial distribution at a broad scale depends on local filters such as soil characteristics and land use when regarding the community (quality, composition) as a whole. Moreover, this study also offers a better evaluation of the impact of land uses on soil microbial diversity and taxa, with consequences in terms of sustainability for agricultural systems.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International

Keywords: metagenomics

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Remote created date: 2016-12-16

Remote updated date: 2017-01-11

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