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Data from: Changes in soil microbial communities in post mine ecological restoration: implications for monitoring using high throughput DNA sequencing

Citation

van der Heyde, Mieke et al. (2021), Data from: Changes in soil microbial communities in post mine ecological restoration: implications for monitoring using high throughput DNA sequencing, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4qrfj6q7g

Abstract

The ecological restoration of ecosystem services and biodiversity is a key intervention used to reverse the impacts of anthropogenic activities such as mining. Assessment of the performance of restoration against completion criteria relies on biodiversity monitoring. However, monitoring usually overlooks soil microbial communities (SMC), despite increased awareness of their pivotal role in many ecological functions. Recent advances in cost, scalability and technology has led to DNA sequencing being considered as a cost-effective biological monitoring tool, particularly for otherwise difficult to survey groups such as microbes. However, such approaches for monitoring complex restoration sites such as post-mined landscapes have not yet been tested. Here we examine bacterial and fungal communities across chronosequences of mine site restoration at three locations in Western Australia to determine if there are consistent changes in SMC diversity, community composition and functional capacity. Although we detected directional changes in community composition indicative of microbial recovery, these were inconsistent between locations and microbial taxa (bacteria or fungi). Assessing functional diversity provided greater understanding of changes in site conditions and microbial recovery than could be determined through assessment of community composition alone. These results demonstrate that high-throughput amplicon sequencing of environmental DNA (eDNA) is an effective approach for monitoring the complex changes in SMC following restoration. Future monitoring of mine site restoration using eDNA should consider archiving samples to provide improved understanding of changes in communities over time. Expansion to include other biological groups (e.g. soil fauna) and substrates would also provide a more holistic understanding of biodiversity recovery. 

Funding

Australian Research Council, Award: ICI150100041