Abstract Title

Variation in Biological Soil Crust Bacterial Diversity with a Changing Climate

Disciplines

Bioinformatics | Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology

Abstract

Biological soil crusts, or biocrusts, are intricate communities at the soil surface in arid and semiarid ecosystems which are composed primarily of Cyanobacteria, mosses, and lichens. Microbial communities such as these are important mediators of biogeochemical cycling processes. However, research is lacking on how the factors of climate and disturbance influence biocrust diversity. In order to examine this, 80 biological crust samples along a sagebrush steppe climatic gradient in the Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory near Murphy, Idaho were pooled into 16 samples for analysis of the bacterial gene encoding the 16S small subunit rRNA V3-V4 region using next generation sequencing and bioinformatics. Examination of significant changes in bacterial composition will be determined from the comparisons of soil characteristics (pH and electroconductivity), location of biocrust to vegetation (under-plant vs. interplant space), cattle grazing (exclosures vs. grazed areas), and climate (four elevations along a climatic gradient). We hypothesize that varying climate and disturbance factors will interact to influence bacterial diversity in biological soil crust communities.

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Variation in Biological Soil Crust Bacterial Diversity with a Changing Climate

Biological soil crusts, or biocrusts, are intricate communities at the soil surface in arid and semiarid ecosystems which are composed primarily of Cyanobacteria, mosses, and lichens. Microbial communities such as these are important mediators of biogeochemical cycling processes. However, research is lacking on how the factors of climate and disturbance influence biocrust diversity. In order to examine this, 80 biological crust samples along a sagebrush steppe climatic gradient in the Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory near Murphy, Idaho were pooled into 16 samples for analysis of the bacterial gene encoding the 16S small subunit rRNA V3-V4 region using next generation sequencing and bioinformatics. Examination of significant changes in bacterial composition will be determined from the comparisons of soil characteristics (pH and electroconductivity), location of biocrust to vegetation (under-plant vs. interplant space), cattle grazing (exclosures vs. grazed areas), and climate (four elevations along a climatic gradient). We hypothesize that varying climate and disturbance factors will interact to influence bacterial diversity in biological soil crust communities.