Microbial Ecology

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 710–723

Soil Functional Diversity Analysis of a Bauxite-Mined Restoration Chronosequence

  • Dawn E. Lewis
  • John R. White
  • Denis Wafula
  • Rana Athar
  • Tamar Dickerson
  • Henry N. Williams
  • Ashvini Chauhan
Soil Microbiology

DOI: 10.1007/s00248-009-9621-x

Cite this article as:
Lewis, D.E., White, J.R., Wafula, D. et al. Microb Ecol (2010) 59: 710. doi:10.1007/s00248-009-9621-x

Abstract

Soil microorganisms are sensitive to environmental perturbations such that changes in microbial community structure and function can provide early signs of anthropogenic disturbances and even predict restoration success. We evaluated the bacterial functional diversity of un-mined and three chronosequence sites at various stages of rehabilitation (0, 10, and 20 years old) located in the Mocho Mountains of Jamaica. Samples were collected during the dry and wet seasons and analyzed for metal concentrations, microbial biomass carbon, bacterial numbers, and functional responses of soil microbiota using community-level physiological profile (CLPP) assays. Regardless of the season, un-mined soils consisted of higher microbial biomass and numbers than any of the rehabilitated sites. Additionally, the number and rate of substrates utilized and substrate evenness (the distribution of color development between the substrates) were significantly greater in the un-mined soils with carbohydrates being preferentially utilized than amino acids, polymers, carboxylic acids, and esters. To some extent, functional responses varied with the seasons but the least physiological activity was shown by the site rehabilitated in 1987 indicating long-term perturbation to this ecosystem. Small subunit ribosomal DNA (SSUrDNA)-denaturing gradient-gel electrophoresis analyses on the microbiota collected from the most preferred CLPP substrates followed by taxonomic analyses showed Proteobacteria, specifically the gamma-proteobacteria, as the most functionally active phyla, indicating a propensity of this phyla to out-compete other groups under the prevailing conditions. Additionally, multivariate statistical analyses, Shannon's diversity, and evenness indices, principal component analysis, biplot and un-weighted-pair-group method with arithmetic averages dendrograms further confirmed that un-mined sites were distinctly different from the rehabilitated soils.

Supplementary material

248_2009_9621_MOESM1_ESM.doc (27 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1Percentage composition of phylogenetic groups that were found to be metabolically active in the Mocho Mountain area of Jamaica (DOC 27 kb)
248_2009_9621_MOESM2_ESM.doc (62 kb)
Supplementary Figure 2Phylogenetic tree of partial 16S rRNA gene sequences from domain Bacteria, identified from the predominantly utilized substrates in the CLPP assay on the un-mined and rehabilitated soils. The phylotree was constructed by the neighbor-joining method using MEGA4 software. Halobacterium salinarum was used as an outgroup (DOC 62 kb)
248_2009_9621_MOESM3_ESM.doc (98 kb)
Supplementary Table 1Soil microbiota identified from the most preferred BIOLOG® substrates in the CLPP assay (DOC 98 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn E. Lewis
    • 1
  • John R. White
    • 2
  • Denis Wafula
    • 1
  • Rana Athar
    • 1
  • Tamar Dickerson
    • 1
  • Henry N. Williams
    • 1
  • Ashvini Chauhan
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Sciences InstituteFlorida A&M UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Wetland and Aquatic Biogeochemistry LaboratoryLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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