Microclimate is a strong predictor of the native and invasive plant-associated soil microbiome on San Cristóbal Island, Galápagos archipelago

Alexi A. Schoenborn, Sarah M. Yannarell, Caroline T. MacVicar, Noelia N. Barriga-Medina, Kevin S. Bonham, Antonio Leon-Reyes, Diego Riveros-Iregui, Vanja Klepac-Ceraj, Elizabeth A. Shank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding the drivers that affect soil bacterial and fungal communities is essential to understanding and mitigating the impacts of human activity on vulnerable ecosystems like those on the Galápagos Islands. The volcanic slopes of these Islands lead to steep elevation gradients that generate distinct microclimates across small spatial scales. Although much is known about the impacts of invasive plant species on the above-ground biodiversity of the Galápagos Islands, little is known about their resident soil microbial communities and the factors shaping them. Here, we investigate the bacterial and fungal soil communities associated with invasive and native plant species across three distinct microclimates on San Cristóbal Island (arid, transition zone and humid). At each site, we collected soil at three depths (rhizosphere, 5 cm and 15 cm) from multiple plants. Sampling location was the strongest driver of both bacterial and fungal communities, explaining 73% and 43% of variation in the bacterial and fungal community structure, respectively, with additional minor but significant impacts from soil depth and plant type (invasive vs. native). This study highlights the continued need to explore microbial communities across diverse environments and demonstrates how both abiotic and biotic factors impact soil microbial communities in the Galápagos archipelago.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1377-1392
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Volume25
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 23 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Soil/chemistry
  • Microclimate
  • Biodiversity
  • Plants
  • Microbiota
  • Introduced Species
  • Bacteria/genetics
  • Soil Microbiology

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