The supportive and negative evidence for the stress gradient hypothesis (SGH) led to an ongoing debate among ecologists and called for new empirical and theoretical work. In this study, we took various biological soil crust (BSCs) samples along a spatial gradient with four environmental stress levels to examine the fitness of SGH in microbial interactions and evaluate its influence on biodiversity–function relationships in BSCs. A new assessment method of species interactions within hard-cultured invisible soil community was employed, directly based on denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprint images. The results showed that biotic interactions in soil phototroph community dramatically shifted from facilitation to dominant competition with the improvement of microhabitats. It offered new evidence, which presented a different perspective on the hypothesis that the relative importance of facilitation and competition varies inversely along the gradient of abiotic stress. The path analysis indicated that influence of biotic interactions (r = 0.19, p < 0.05) on ecosystem functions is lower than other community properties (r = 0.62, p < 0.001), including soil moisture, crust coverage, and biodiversity. Furthermore, the correlation between species interactions and community properties was non-significant with low negative influence (r = −0.27, p > 0.05). We demonstrate that the inversion of biotic interaction as a response to the gradient of abiotic stresses existed not only in the visible plant community but also in the soil microbial community.

Shifting Species Interaction in Soil Microbial Community and Its Influence on Ecosystem Functions Modulating

Rossi F;
2013

Abstract

The supportive and negative evidence for the stress gradient hypothesis (SGH) led to an ongoing debate among ecologists and called for new empirical and theoretical work. In this study, we took various biological soil crust (BSCs) samples along a spatial gradient with four environmental stress levels to examine the fitness of SGH in microbial interactions and evaluate its influence on biodiversity–function relationships in BSCs. A new assessment method of species interactions within hard-cultured invisible soil community was employed, directly based on denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprint images. The results showed that biotic interactions in soil phototroph community dramatically shifted from facilitation to dominant competition with the improvement of microhabitats. It offered new evidence, which presented a different perspective on the hypothesis that the relative importance of facilitation and competition varies inversely along the gradient of abiotic stress. The path analysis indicated that influence of biotic interactions (r = 0.19, p < 0.05) on ecosystem functions is lower than other community properties (r = 0.62, p < 0.001), including soil moisture, crust coverage, and biodiversity. Furthermore, the correlation between species interactions and community properties was non-significant with low negative influence (r = −0.27, p > 0.05). We demonstrate that the inversion of biotic interaction as a response to the gradient of abiotic stresses existed not only in the visible plant community but also in the soil microbial community.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3729207
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