Data from: Soil abiotic variables are more important than Salicaceae phylogeny or habitat specialization in determining soil microbial community structure
Erlandson, Sonya et al. (2018), Data from: Soil abiotic variables are more important than Salicaceae phylogeny or habitat specialization in determining soil microbial community structure, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5f24ks4
Predicting the outcome of interspecific interactions is a central goal in ecology. The diverse soil microbes that interact with plants are shaped by different aspects of plant identity, such as phylogenetic history and functional group. Species interactions may also be strongly shaped by abiotic environment, but there is mixed evidence on the relative importance of environment, plant identity, and their interactions in shaping soil microbial communities. Using a multi-factor, split-plot field experiment, we tested how hydrologic context, and three facets of Salicaceae plant identity - habitat specialization, phylogenetic distance, and species identity - influence soil microbial community structure. Analysis of microbial community sequencing data with generalized dissimilarity models showed that abiotic environment explained up to 25% of variation in community composition of soil bacteria, fungi, and archaea, while Salicaceae identity influenced less than 1% of the variation in community composition of soil microbial taxa. Multivariate linear models indicated that the influence of Salicaceae identity was small, but did contribute to differentiation of soil microbes within treatments. Moreover, results from a microbial niche breadth analysis show that soil microbes in wetlands have more specialized host associations than soil microbes in drier environments - showing that abiotic environment changed how plant identity correlated with soil microbial communities. This study demonstrates the predominance of major abiotic factors in shaping soil microbial community structure; the significance of abiotic context to biotic influence on soil microbes; and the utility of field experiments to disentangling the abiotic and biotic factors that are thought to be most essential for soil microbial communities.