, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 404-411
Date: 06 Apr 2006

Spatial Stratification of Soil Bacterial Populations in Aggregates of Diverse Soils

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Introduction

Understanding soil microbial diversity and the environmental processes it controls requires an in-depth understanding of how microbial diversity influences, and is influenced by, the environment. Such an understanding can only be attained by analysis at scales relevant to those at which processes influencing microbial diversity actually operate [29]. However, because of the biotic and abiotic complexity exhibited by most soils at nearly all scales, determining soil microbial diversity patterns remains a formidable challenge for soil microbiologists [54].

The vast majority of soil microbial analyses are conducted on bulk soil samples, and often composited bulk soil samples, which averages localized heterogeneity and provides little insight into the spatial origins of detected strains. Moreover, as several studies indicate that molecular approaches tend to be biased toward the more abundant organisms at the time of sampling [5, 20, 41], stratified sampling strategies, which re ...