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Exotic Spartina alterniflora Loisel. Invasion significantly shifts soil bacterial communities with the successional gradient of saltmarsh in eastern China

Abstract

Aims

The effects of invasive plants on soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling are widely documented, while the mechanisms of their influences on the microbial ecology of soil remain unknown. Therefore, the objective of this study was to explore variations in soil bacterial communities following plant invasion, and the mechanisms that drive these changes.

Methods

An invasive perennial herb, Spartina alterniflora Loisel., was examined via 16S rRNA genetic sequencing analyses, to assess the impacts of plant invasion on soil bacterial communities compared to bare flat and native Suaeda salsa (L.) Pall., Scirpus mariqueter Tang et Wang, and Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. communities in the coastal zone of China.

Results

S. alterniflora invasion significantly increased soil bacterial abundance, species richness, and diversity for soil bacterial communities compared with native communities. S. alterniflora soil revealed a unique bacterial community composition, and possessed the highest relative abundance of chemo-lithoautotrophic bacteria, photoautotrophic bacteria (e.g., Chloroflexi, and Anaerolineae), and saprophytic and copiotrophic bacteria (e.g., Bacteroidetes) among the plant communities.

Conclusions

Our results demonstrated that invasive S. alterniflora significantly altered soil bacterial abundance, diversity, and community composition through increases in nutrient substrate levels and altering soil physiochemical properties. Subsequently, the modification of soil bacterial communities, especially increased relative abundances of Chloroflexi, Anaerolineae, and Bacteroidetes following S. alterniflora invasion can enhance the degradation of recalcitrant S. alterniflora materials, while inducing the accumulation of soil organic C and N. These changes further potentially impacted ecosystem C and N cycles in the coastal zone of China.

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Abbreviations

ACE:

Abundance-based coverage estimator

ANOVA:

One-way analysis of variance

BF:

Bare flat

C:

Carbon

Chao1:

Chao’s species richness estimator

C:N ratio:

Carbon: Nitrogen ratio

LDA:

Linear discriminant analysis

LEfSe:

Linear discriminant analysis effect size

N:

Nitrogen

OTUs:

Operational taxonomic units

PA:

Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.

PCoA:

Principal coordinates analysis

QIIME:

Quantitative insights into microbial ecology

qPCR:

Quantitative polymerase chain reaction

RDA:

Redundancy analysis

RDP:

Ribosomal database project

SA:

Spartina alternifolia Loisel.

Shannon:

Shannon’s diversity index

Simpson:

Simpson’s diversity index

SM:

Scirpus mariqueter Tang et Wang

SOC:

Soil organic carbon

SOM:

Soil organic matter

SON:

Soil organic nitrogen

SS:

Suaeda salsa (Linn.) Pall

WSOC:

Water-soluble organic carbon

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Acknowledgements

Funding for this research was provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31600427), the Natural Science Foundation of Shaanxi Province, China (grant no. 2019JQ-666), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (grant no. GK202003051), and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (grant no. 2016M590440). We would like to thank the entire staff of the Jiangsu Yancheng Wetland National Nature Reserve for Rare Birds for their support of this research.

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Yang, W., Cai, A., Wang, J. et al. Exotic Spartina alterniflora Loisel. Invasion significantly shifts soil bacterial communities with the successional gradient of saltmarsh in eastern China. Plant Soil 449, 97–115 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-020-04470-y

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Keywords

  • Bacterial diversity · ecosystem C and N cycles · high-throughput sequencing · plant invasion · soil bacterial community composition · 16S rRNA gene