Bacterial community structure in soils of the Tibetan Plateau affected by discontinuous permafrost or seasonal freezing
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In this study, we assessed the abundance and diversity of bacterial communities by 16S rRNA gene-based qPCR and T-RFLP across different soil depths of three sites located on the Tibetan Plateau which are affected by discontinuous permafrost or characterized as seasonally frozen ground. Our data indicates that bacterial community structure was significantly influenced by soil depth mainly at the site affected by seasonal freezing and thawing. In contrast at sites affected by permafrost, diversity pattern of bacterial communities in the top soil and deeper soil layers changed to a far lower extend. This might be related to the fact that the investigated sites were not waterlogged at the permafrost layer, thus no processes that shifts towards bacterial communities, which require anoxic environments, could be expected. Overall, at all sites, labile and stable C as well as N pools act as main drivers for bacterial communities.
KeywordsTibetan Plateau Permafrost Bacterial diversity 16S rRNA gene fingerprinting
We are grateful for the funding provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant 03G0810A-C). We would like to thank further Jin-Sheng He from Peking University and all members of the Peking University and the North West Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, expedition team for their support.
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