Anthropogenic stressors affect fungal more than bacterial communities in decaying leaf litter: A stream mesocosm experiment

Noël P.D. Juvigny-Khenafou, Yixin Zhang*, Jeremy J. Piggott, David Atkinson, Christoph D. Matthaei, Sunshine A. Van Bael, Naicheng Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite the progress made in environmental microbiology techniques and knowledge, the succession and functional changes of the microbial community under multiple stressors are still poorly understood. This is a substantial knowledge gap as microbial communities regulate the biogeochemistry of stream ecosystems. Our study assessed the structural and temporal changes in stream fungal and bacterial communities associated with decomposing leaf litter under a multiple-stressor scenario. We conducted a fully crossed 4-factor experiment in 64 flow-through mesocosms fed by a pristine montane stream (21 days of colonisation, 21 days of manipulations) and investigated the effects of nutrient enrichment, flow velocity reduction and sedimentation after 2 and 3 weeks of stressor exposure. We used high-throughput sequencing and metabarcoding techniques (16S and 18S rRNA genes) to identify changes in microbial community composition. Our results indicate that (1) shifts in relative abundances of the pre-existing terrestrial microbial community, rather than changes in community identity, drove the observed responses to stressors; (2) changes in relative abundances within the microbial community paralleled decomposition rate patterns with time; (3) both fungal and bacterial communities had a certain resistance to stressors, as indicated by relatively minor changes in alpha diversity or multivariate community structure; (4) overall, stressor interactions were more common than stressor main effects when affecting microbial diversity metrics or abundant individual genera; and (5) stressor effects on microbes often changed from 2 weeks to 3 weeks of stressor exposure, with several response patterns being reversed. Our study suggests that future research should focus more on understanding the temporal dynamics of fungal and bacterial communities and how they relate to ecosystem processes to advance our understanding of the mechanisms associated with multiple-stressor interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135053
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume716
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2020

Keywords

  • 16S rRNA
  • 18s rRNA
  • China
  • Decomposition
  • Mesocosm
  • Multiple stressors

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