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Archaeal assemblages inhabiting temperate mixed forest soil fluctuate in taxon composition and spatial distribution over time

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This study explored the persistence and spatial distribution of a diverse Archaeal assemblage inhabiting a temperate mixed forest ecosystem. Persistence under native conditions was measured from 2001 to 2010, 2011, and 2012 by comparison of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries. The Archaeal assemblages at each of these time points were found to be significantly different (AMOVA, P < 0.01), and the nature of this difference was dependent on taxonomic rank. For example, the cosmopolitan genus g-Ca. Nitrososphaera (I.1b) was detected at all time points, but within this taxon the abundance of s-SCA1145, s-SCA1170, and s-Ca. N. gargensis fluctuated over time. In addition, spatial heterogeneity (patchiness) was measured at these time points using 1D TRFLP-SSCP fingerprinting to screen soil samples covering multiple spatial scales. This included soil collected from small volumes of 3 cubic centimeters to larger scales - over a surface area of 50 m2, plots located 1.3 km apart, and a separate locality 23 km away. The spatial distribution of Archaea in these samples changed over time, and while g-Ca. Nitrososphaera (I.1b) was dominant over larger scales, patches were found at smaller scales that were dominated by other taxa. This study measured the degree of change for Archaeal taxon composition and patchiness over time in temperate mixed forest soil. © 2013 Colby A. Swanson and Marek K. Sliwinski.


Department of Biology

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