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      Patterns and drivers of soil microbial communities along a precipitation gradient on the Mongolian Plateau

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          EFFECTS OF BIODIVERSITY ON ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONING: A CONSENSUS OF CURRENT KNOWLEDGE

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            The diversity and biogeography of soil bacterial communities.

            For centuries, biologists have studied patterns of plant and animal diversity at continental scales. Until recently, similar studies were impossible for microorganisms, arguably the most diverse and abundant group of organisms on Earth. Here, we present a continental-scale description of soil bacterial communities and the environmental factors influencing their biodiversity. We collected 98 soil samples from across North and South America and used a ribosomal DNA-fingerprinting method to compare bacterial community composition and diversity quantitatively across sites. Bacterial diversity was unrelated to site temperature, latitude, and other variables that typically predict plant and animal diversity, and community composition was largely independent of geographic distance. The diversity and richness of soil bacterial communities differed by ecosystem type, and these differences could largely be explained by soil pH (r(2) = 0.70 and r(2) = 0.58, respectively; P < 0.0001 in both cases). Bacterial diversity was highest in neutral soils and lower in acidic soils, with soils from the Peruvian Amazon the most acidic and least diverse in our study. Our results suggest that microbial biogeography is controlled primarily by edaphic variables and differs fundamentally from the biogeography of "macro" organisms.
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              Ecological linkages between aboveground and belowground biota.

              All terrestrial ecosystems consist of aboveground and belowground components that interact to influence community- and ecosystem-level processes and properties. Here we show how these components are closely interlinked at the community level, reinforced by a greater degree of specificity between plants and soil organisms than has been previously supposed. As such, aboveground and belowground communities can be powerful mutual drivers, with both positive and negative feedbacks. A combined aboveground-belowground approach to community and ecosystem ecology is enhancing our understanding of the regulation and functional significance of biodiversity and of the environmental impacts of human-induced global change phenomena.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Landscape Ecology
                Landscape Ecol
                Springer Nature
                0921-2973
                1572-9761
                November 2015
                February 15 2014
                November 2015
                : 30
                : 9
                : 1669-1682
                Article
                10.1007/s10980-014-9996-z
                © 2015
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