Microbial Ecology

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 453–461

Soil Microbial Abundance and Diversity Along a Low Precipitation Gradient

  • Ami Bachar
  • Ashraf Al-Ashhab
  • M. Ines M. Soares
  • Menachem Y. Sklarz
  • Roey Angel
  • Eugene D. Ungar
  • Osnat Gillor
Soil Microbiology

DOI: 10.1007/s00248-010-9727-1

Cite this article as:
Bachar, A., Al-Ashhab, A., Soares, M.I.M. et al. Microb Ecol (2010) 60: 453. doi:10.1007/s00248-010-9727-1

Abstract

The exploration of spatial patterns of abundance and diversity patterns along precipitation gradients has focused for centuries on plants and animals; microbial profiles along such gradients are largely unknown. We studied the effects of soil pH, nutrient concentration, salinity, and water content on bacterial abundance and diversity in soils collected from Mediterranean, semi-arid, and arid sites receiving approximately 400, 300, and 100 mm annual precipitation, respectively. Bacterial diversity was evaluated by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and clone library analyses and the patterns obtained varied with the climatic regions. Over 75% of the sequenced clones were unique to their environment, while ∼2% were shared by all sites, yet, the Mediterranean and semi-arid sites had more common clones (∼9%) than either had with the arid site (4.7% and 6%, respectively). The microbial abundance, estimated by phospholipid fatty acids and real-time quantitative PCR assays, was significantly lower in the arid region. Our results indicate that although soil bacterial abundance decreases with precipitation, bacterial diversity is independent of precipitation gradient. Furthermore, community composition was found to be unique to each ecosystem.

Supplementary material

248_2010_9727_MOESM1_ESM.doc (36 kb)
Supplementary Table S1(DOC 33 kb)
248_2010_9727_MOESM2_ESM.doc (82 kb)
Supplementary Fig. S1(DOC 80 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ami Bachar
    • 1
  • Ashraf Al-Ashhab
    • 1
  • M. Ines M. Soares
    • 1
  • Menachem Y. Sklarz
    • 1
  • Roey Angel
    • 2
  • Eugene D. Ungar
    • 3
  • Osnat Gillor
    • 1
  1. 1.Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the NegevSede BoqerIsrael
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institute for Terrestrial MicrobiologyMarburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy and Natural ResourcesInstitute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael