Soil microorganisms and physicochemical properties are considered the two most influencing factors for maintaining plant diversity. However, the operational mechanisms and which factor is the most influential manipulator remain poorly understood. In this study, we examine the collaborative influences of soil physicochemical properties (i.e., soil water, soil organic matter (SOM), salinity, total phosphorus and nitrogen, pH, soil bulk density and fine root biomass) and soil microorganisms (fungi and bacteria) on plant diversity across two types of tree patches dominated by big and small trees (big trees: height ≥ 7 m and DBH ≥ 60 cm; small trees: height ≤ 4.5 m and DBH ≤ 20 cm) in an arid desert region. Tree patch is consists of a single tree or group of trees and their accompanying shrubs and herbs. It was hypothesized that soil physicochemical properties and microorganisms affect plant diversity but their influence differ. The results show that plant and soil microbial diversity increased with increasing distances from big trees. SOM, salinity, fine root biomass, soil water, total phosphorus and total nitrogen contents decreased with increasing distance from big trees, while pH and soil bulk density did not change. Plant and soil microbial diversity were higher in areas close to big trees compared with small trees, whereas soil physicochemical properties were opposite. The average contribution of soil physicochemical properties (12.2%–13.5%) to plant diversity was higher than microbial diversity (4.8%– 6.7%). Salinity had the largest negative affect on plant diversity (24.7%–27.4%). This study suggests that soil fungi constrain plant diversity while bacteria improve it in tree patches. Soil physicochemical properties are the most important factor modulating plant diversity in arid desert tree patches.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Asaf S, Khan AL, Khan MA, Al-Harrasi A, Lee IJ (2018) Complete genome sequencing and analysis of endophytic Sphingomonas sp. LK11 and its potential in plant growth. Biotech 8(9):1–1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13205-018-1403-z
Bagchi R, Henrys PA, Brown PE, Burslem DFRP, Diggle PJ, Gunatilleke CVS, Gunatilleke IAUN, Kassim AR, Law R, Noor S, Valencia RL (2011) Spatial patterns reveal negative density dependence and habitat associations in tropical trees. Ecology 92(9):1723–1729. https://doi.org/10.1890/11-0335.1
Belsky AJ (1994) Influences of trees on savanna productivity: tests of shade, nutrients, and tree-grass competition. Ecology 75(4):922–932. https://doi.org/10.2307/1939416
Berdugo M, Maestre FT, Kefi S, Gross N, Bagousse-Pinguet YL, Soliveres S (2019) Aridity preferences alter the relative importance of abiotic and biotic drivers on plant species abundance in global drylands. J Ecol 107(1):190–202. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13006
Bever JD, Westover KM, Antonovics J (1997) Incorporating the soil community into plant population dynamics: The utility of the feedback. J Ecol 85(5):561–573. https://doi.org/10.2307/2960528
Bulgarelli D, Ruben G, Philipp C, Weiman A, Dröge J, Pan Y, McHardy AC, Schulze-Lefert P (2015) Structure and function of the bacterial root microbiota in wild and domesticated barley. Cell Host Microbe 17(3):392–403. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2015.01.011
Cambrollé J, Muoz VS, Mancilla-Leyton JM, Andrades-Moreno L, Luque T, Figueroa ME (2015) Effects of soil physicochemical properties on plant performance of Glaucium flavum Crantz. Plant Soil 386(1–2):185–193. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-014-2258-7
Caporaso JG, Lauber CL, Walters WA, Berg-Lyons D, Huntley J, Fierer N, Owens SM, Betley J, Fraser L, Bauer M (2012) Ultra-high-throughput microbial community analysis on the Illumina HiSeq and MiSeq platforms. The ISME Journal 6(8):1621–1624. https://doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2012.8
Cha T(2017) Soil physicochemical analysis. China Forestry Publishing, Beijing 115–145.
Chaparro J, Sheflin A, Manter D, Vivanco J (2012) Manipulating the soil microbiome to increase soil health and plant fertility. Biol Fertil Soils 48(5):489–499. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-012-0691-4
Chevan A, Sutherland M (1991) Hierarchical partitioning. Am Stat 45(2):90–96. https://doi.org/10.1080/00031305.1991.10475776
Cho GY, Lee JC, Whang KS (2018) Erratum: Aliifodinibius salicampi sp. nov., a moderately halophilic bacterium isolated from a grey saltern. Int J Sys Evolut Microbiol 68(2):692–692. https://doi.org/10.1099/ijsem.0.002572
Edgar RC (2010) Search and clustering orders of magnitude faster than BLAST. Bioinformatics 26(19):2460–2461. https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btq461
el Zahar HF, Santaella C, Heulin T, Achouak W (2014) Root exudates mediated interactions belowground. Soil Biol Biochem 77:69–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.06.017
Elkeblawy A (2014) Impact of climate change on biodiversity loss and extinction of endemicplants of arid land mountains. Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species 2(1):120. https://doi.org/10.4172/2332-2543.1000120
Gao Q, Hasselquist NJ, Palmroth S, Zheng Z, You W (2014) Short-term response of soil respiration to nitrogen fertilization in a subtropical evergreen forest. Soil Biol Biochem 76:297–300. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.04.020
Giuseppe C, Youssef R, Mariateresa C, Monica T, Carlos R, Elvira R (2008) Alleviation of salt stress by arbuscular mycorrhizal in zucchini plants grown at low and high phosphorus concentration. Biol Fertil Soils 44(3):501–509. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-007-0232-8
Gong Y, Ling H, Lv G, Chen Y, Cao J (2018) Disentangling the influence of aridity and salinity on community functional and phylogenetic diversity in local dryland vegetation. Sci Total Environ 653:409–422. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.10.358
Haas BJ, Gevers D, Earl AM, Feldgarden M, Ward DV, Giannoukos G, Ciulla D, Tabbaa D, Highlander SK, Sodergren E (2011) Chimeric 16S rRNA sequence formation and detection in Sanger and 454-pyrosequenced PCR amplicons. Genome Res 21(3):494–504. https://doi.org/10.1101/gr.112730.110
Hegarty TW (1978) The physiology of seed hydration and dehydration, and the relation between water stress and the control of germination: a review. Plant, Cell Environ 1(2):101–119. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3040.1978.tb00752.x
Hodge A, Storer K (2015) Arbuscular mycorrhiza and nitrogen: implications for individual plants through to ecosystems. Plant Soil 386(1–2):1–19. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-014-2162-1
Hu CC, Tsen-Li C (1993) Halophytes in China: Floristic distribution and vegetation type. Springer, Netherlands, pp 21–34
Huangfu C, Hui D, Qi X, Li K (2019) Plant interactions modulate root litter decomposition and negative plant-soil feedback with an invasive plant. Plant Soil 437(1/2):179–194. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-019-03973-7
Ingham RE, Coleman DC, Ingham ER, Trofymow JA (1985) Interactions of bacteria, fungi, and their nematode grazers: effectson nutrient cycling and plant growth. Ecol Monogr 55(1):119. https://doi.org/10.2307/1942528
Janzen DH (1970) Herbivores and the number of tree species in tropical forests. Am Nat 104(940):501–528. https://doi.org/10.1086/282687
Laforest-Lapointe I, Paquette A, Messier C, Kembel SW (2017) Leaf bacterial diversity mediates plant diversity and ecosystem function relationships. Nature 546(7656):145–147. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature22399
Lai J, Peres-neto P (2020) rdacca.hp: Hierarchical partitioning for canonical analysis. R package version 0.1.0. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=rdacca.hp.
Lakhani KH (1989) Ecological diversity and its measurement (Book). J Appl Ecol 26(3):1101–1102. https://doi.org/10.2307/2403731
LaManna JA, Walton ML, Turner BL, Myers JA, Rejmanek M (2016) Negative density dependence is stronger in resource-rich environments and diversifies communities when stronger for common but not rare species. Ecol Lett 19(6):657–667. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12603
Leuzinger S, Fatichi S, Cusens J, Körner C, Niklaus PA (2015) The 'island effect' in terrestrial global change experiments: a problem?. Aob Plants 7: plv092 https://doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plv092.
Li X, Jia R, He M (2008) The response of desert plant species diversity to the changes in soil water content in the middle-lower reaches of the Heihe River. Adv Earth Sci 23(7):685–691. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10499-007-9164-4
Li H, Yang X, Lv G (2018a) Relationships between hydraulic lift of Haloxylon ammodendron with growth condition, abundance and richness of shallow-rooted plants. Bull Soil Water Conserv 38(2):75–81. https://doi.org/10.13961/j.cnki.stbctb.2018.02.013
Li S, Su P, Zhang H, Zhou Z, Xie T, Shi R, Gou W (2018b) Distribution patterns of desert plant diversity and relationship to soil properties in the Heihe River Basin. China Ecosphere 9(7):e02355. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2355
Li W, Li X, Huang Y, Wang P, Zhang C (2019) Spatial patch structure and adaptive strategy for desert shrub of Reaumuria soongorica in arid ecosystem of the Heihe River Basin. J Geog Sci 29(9):1507–1525. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11442-019-1674-2
Liu Y, Yu S, Xie ZP, Staehelin C (2012) Analysis of a negative plant-soil feedback in a subtropical monsoon forest. J Ecol 100(4):1019–1028. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2012.01953.x
Lou Y, Davis A, Yannarell A (2016) Interactions between allelochemicals and the microbial community affect weed suppression following cover crop residue incorporation into soil. Plant Soil 399(1/2):357–371. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-015-2698-8
Lozano YM, Armas C, Hortal S, Casanoves F, Pugnaire FI (2017) Disentangling above- and below-ground facilitation drivers in arid environments: the role of soil microorganisms, soil properties and microhabitat. The New Phytologist 216(4):1236–1246. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.14499
Ludwig F, De Kroon JCJM, Berendse F, Prins HHT (2004) The influence of savanna trees on nutrient, water and light availability and the understorey vegetation. Plant Ecol 170(1):93–105. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:VEGE.0000019023.29636.92
Ma L, Yang S, Simayi Z, Gu Q, Li J, Yang X, Ding J (2018) Modeling variations in soil salinity in the oasis of Junggar Basin. China Land Degrad Dev 29(3):551–562. https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.2890
Na X, Xu T, Li M, Zhou Z, Ma S, Wang J, He J, Jiao B, Ma F (2018) Variations of bacterial community diversity within the rhizosphere of three phylogenetically related perennial shrub plant species across environmental gradients. Frontiers in Microbiology 9:709. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.00709
O'Brien MJ, Pugnaire FI, Armas C, Rodríguez‐Echeverría S, Schöb C (2017) The shift from plant-plant facilitation to competition under severe water deficit is spatially explicit. Ecology & Evolution (20457758), 7(7): 2441–2448. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2875.
Ochoa-Hueso R, Eldridge DJ, Delgado-Baquerizo M, Soliveres S, Bowker MA, Gross N, Bagousse-Pinguet YL, Quero JL, García-Gómez M, Valencia E et al (2018) Soil fungal abundance and plant functional traits drive fertile island formation in global drylands. J Ecol 106(1):242–253. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12871
Packer A, Clay K (2000) Soil pathogens and spatial patterns of seedling mortality in a temperate tree. Nature 404(6775):278. https://doi.org/10.1038/35005072
Peng W, Zhu Y, Song M, Du H, Zhang J (2019) The spatial distribution and drivers of soil microbial richness and diversity in a karst broadleaf forest. For Ecol Manage 449:117241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2019.03.033
Polis GA (1991) The ecology of desert communities. Ecol Desert Commun 42(9):709. https://doi.org/10.2307/1312180
Saiz H, Gomezgardenes J, Borda JP, Maestre FT (2018) The structure of plant spatial association networks is linked to plant diversity in global drylands. J Ecol 106(4):1443–1453. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12935
Sang W (2009) Plant diversity patterns and their relationships with soil and climatic factors along an altitudinal gradient in the middle Tianshan Mountain area, Xinjiang. China Ecological Research 24(2):303–314. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-008-0507-z
Sher Z, Hussain F, Ahmad B, Wahab M (2011) Allelopathic potential of Populus euphratica olivier. Pak J Bot 43(4):1899–1903. https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4811-7-25
Silva APD, Babujia LC, Franchini JC, Ralisch R, Hungria M, Guimares MDF (2014) Soil structure and its influence on microbial biomass in different soil and crop management systems. Soil & Tillage Research 142:42–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2014.04.006
Simões MF (2015) Soil and rhizosphere associated fungi in gray mangroves (Avicennia marina) from the red sea—A metagenomic approach. Genomics, Proteomics Bioinformatics 13(5):310–320. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gpb.2015.07.002
Slabbert E, Kongor RY, Esler KJ, Jacobs K (2010) Microbial diversity and community structure in Fynbos soil. Mol Ecol 19(5):1031–1041. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04517.x
Tian J, He N, Hale L, Niu S, Zhou J (2018) Soil organic matter availability and climate drive latitudinal patterns in bacterial diversity from tropical to cold temperate forests. Funct Ecol 32(1):61–70. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.12952
Vessey JK (2003) Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria as biofertilizers. Plant Soil 255(2):571–586. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026037216893
Wang J, Zhang T, Li L, Li J, Feng Y, Lu Q (2017) The patterns and drivers of bacterial and fungal β-diversity in a typical dryland ecosystem of Northwest China. Front Microbiol 8:2126. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.02126
Wu R, Yeerjiang B, Nuertayi T, Zhao W (2019) Species diversity of understory herb layer of Populus euphratica forest in Urho District of Karamay City. Xinjiang Journal of Chinese Urban Forestry 17(4):7–11. https://doi.org/10.3969/j.issn.1672-4925.2019.00.031
Yan N, Marschner P, Cao W, Zuo C, Qin W (2015) Influence of salinity and water content on soil microorganisms. Int Soil Water Conserv Res 3(4):316–323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iswcr.2015.11.003
Yang YH, Chen YN, Li WH (2009) Relationship between soil properties and plant diversity in a desert riparian forest in the lower reaches of the Tarim River, Xinjiang. China Arid Land Res Manage 23(4):283–296. https://doi.org/10.1080/15324980903231991
Yang XD, Lü GH, Zhang XM, Sun LJ, He SL (2010a) Analysis on spatial distribution pattern of eight arbor-shrub populations in Ebinur Lake Wetland Nature Reserve. J Plant Resour Environ 19(4):37–42. https://doi.org/10.3724/SP.J.1011.2010.01267
Yang YH, Chen YN, Li WH, Chen YJ, Lv DY (2010b) Study on populations of microorganisms in Populus euphratica rhizosphere and their affecting factors in arid areas. Arid Zone Res 27(5):719–725. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1002-0160(10)60014-8
Yang X, Zhang X, Lv G, Ali A (2014) Linking Populus euphratica hydraulic redistribution to diversity assembly in the arid desert zone of Xinjiang. China PLoS ONE 9(10):1–8. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0109071
Yang X, Gong X, Zhu L, Lv G (2017) Relationships among Populous euphratica hydraulic redistribution, niche breadth and biodiversity of its companion species in Tugai Forests. J Desert Res 37(5):933–941. https://doi.org/10.7522/j.issr.1000-694X.2016.00085
Yang Q, Fan XL, Du Z, Tian CM (2018) Diaporthosporellaceae, a novel family of Diaporthales (Sordariomycetes, Ascomycota). Mycoscience (Elsevier Science) 59(3):229–235. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.myc.2017.11.005
Yang XD, Ali A, Xu YL, Jiang LM, Lv GH (2019) Soil moisture and salinity as main drivers of soil respiration across natural xeromorphic vegetation and agricultural lands in an arid desert region. CATENA 177:126–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2019.02.015
Zeng Y, Zhao C, Kundzewicz ZW, Lv G (2020) Distribution pattern of Tugai forest species diversity and their relationship to environmental factors in an arid area of China. PLoS ONE 15(5):e0232907. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0232907
Zhang X, Yang X, He X, Lv GH, Yang JJ (2018) Influence of edaphic factors on plant distribution and diversity in the arid area of Xinjiang, Northwest China. Arid Land Res Manage 32(1):38–56. https://doi.org/10.1080/15324982.2017.1376004
Zhou W, Yang X, Peng H, Liu Q, Li J (2010) Plant diversity and its maintenance in Populus euphratica riparian forests in the Ejina Oasis. China Foresty Studies China 12(02):55–61. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11632-010-0011-8
Zhu H, He Y (1992) Soil geography. China Higher Education Press, Beijing, pp 20–26
Zhu CG, Li WH, Chen YP, Ma JX (2017) Clonal water integration contributes to more survival advantages for Populus euphratica young ramets in the hyper-arid habitat. J Appl Ecol 28(5):1448–1454. https://doi.org/10.13287/j.1001-9332.201705.024
We are highly grateful to anonymous reviewers, handling editor (Yanhui Wang) and Corresponding editor (Zhu Hong) for their insightful comments which greatly improved an earlier version of this manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Project funding: This work was supported financially by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. and 41,871,031 and 31,860,111), and Natural Science Foundation of Xinjiang (Grant No. 2017D01C080).
The online version is available at http://www.springerlink.com
Corresponding editor: Zhu Hong
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
About this article
Cite this article
Yang, X., Long, Y., Sarkar, B. et al. Influence of soil microorganisms and physicochemical properties on plant diversity in an arid desert of Western China. J. For. Res. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11676-021-01292-1
- Arid ecosystem
- Soil microbial diversity
- Soil physicochemical properties
- Plant diversity
- Soil salinity