Different Height Forms of Spartina alterniflora Might Select Their Own Rhizospheric Bacterial Communities in Southern Coast of China


In the southernmost part of coast of China, two height forms of Spartina alterniflora, tall and short, have invaded Leizhou Peninsula within the last decade. However, the effect of different height forms of Spartina alterniflora on plant–microbe interaction has not been clarified. Here, the community structures of rhizosphere bacteria and the abundance of N- and S-cycling functional genes associated with selected S. alterniflora were investigated in the field and a common garden. The community structure of tall-form S. alterniflora was distinct from short-form S. alterniflora at OTU level in the field, even after transplantation into a common garden. The abundance of bacterial amoA, nirS, and nosZ in tall S. alterniflora was significantly greater than those in short S. alterniflora in the field; however, this difference disappeared in a 1-year common garden experiment. These results suggested that compared with the tall-form S. alterniflora, the rhizosphere of short-form S. alterniflora harbored fewer nitrification–denitrification related microorganisms, which might benefit from conserving N in an N limited habitat. Together, our results suggested that tall- and short-form S. alterniflora can host their specific rhizosphere microbial communities and had different strategies of N usage via selecting the composition of rhizosphere bacterial assemblages, which in turn might determine the growth and invasiveness of S. alterniflora in its introduced range.

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We thank Professor John Hodgkiss of the City University of Hong Kong for his assistance with the English language.


This research was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 20720150097).

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Correspondence to Yihui Zhang or Yun Tian.

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Lin, L., Liu, W., Zhang, M. et al. Different Height Forms of Spartina alterniflora Might Select Their Own Rhizospheric Bacterial Communities in Southern Coast of China. Microb Ecol 77, 124–135 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-018-1208-y

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  • Spartina alterniflora
  • Rhizosphere bacteria
  • Plant–microbe interaction
  • Nitrogen cycling