Canadian Forest Service Publications

Microbiome functioning depends on individual and interactive effects of the environment and community structure. 2018. Orland, C.; Emilson, E.J.S.; Basiliko, N.; Mykytczuk, N.C.S.; Gunn, J.M.; Tanentzap, A.J. The ISME Journal:

Year: 2018

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39232

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1038/s41396-018-0230-x

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Plain Language Summary

How ecosystem functioning changes with microbial biodiversity remains an open question in natural ecosystems. Both present-day environmental conditions and historical events that shape microbial communities, such as past differences in dispersal, can have a greater influence over ecosystem function than biodiversity. Here, we estimated how individual and interactive effects of biodiversity, present-day environmental conditions, and an indicator of historical legacies influenced ecosystem functioning in lake sediments. We studied sediment microbial communities because they have strong gradients in all three of these ecosystem properties and deliver important functions worldwide. We found that taxonomic diversity and the abundance of oxidase-encoding genes explained as much variation in CO2 production as present-day gradients of pH and organic matter quantity and quality. Surprisingly, the effect of biodiversity on CO2 production was attributable to site-level differences in bacterial communities unrelated to the present-day environment, suggesting that colonization history rather than habitat-based filtering indirectly influenced ecosystem functioning. Our findings add to limited evidence that biodiversity explains patterns of microbiome functioning in nature. Yet we highlight for among the first time how biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships depend directly on present-day environmental conditions and indirectly on historical legacies, and so need to be contextualized with these other ecosystem properties.