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Data from: Vertical distribution of the soil microbiota along a successional gradient in a glacier forefield


Rime, Thomas et al. (2014), Data from: Vertical distribution of the soil microbiota along a successional gradient in a glacier forefield, Dryad, Dataset,


Spatial patterns of microbial communities have been extensively surveyed in well-developed soils, but few studies investigated the vertical distribution of microorganisms in newly developed soils after glacier retreat. We used 454-pyrosequencing to assess whether bacterial and fungal community structures differed between stages of soil development (SSD) characterized by an increasing vegetation cover from barren (vegetation cover: 0%/ age: 10 years), sparsely-vegetated (13%/ 60 years), transient (60%/ 80 years) to vegetated (95%/ 110 years) and depths (surface, 5 and 20 cm) along the Damma glacier forefield (Switzerland). Stage of soil development significantly influenced the bacterial and fungal communities. Based on indicator species analyses, metabolically versatile bacteria (e.g. Geobacter) and psychrophilic yeasts (e.g. Mrakia) characterized the barren soils. Vegetated soils with higher C, N and root biomass consisted of bacteria able to degrade complex organic compounds (e.g. Candidatus Solibacter), ligno-cellulolytic Ascomycota (e.g. Geoglossum) and ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota (e.g. Laccaria). Soil depth only influenced bacterial and fungal communities in barren and sparsely-vegetated soils. These changes were partly due to more silt and higher soil moisture in the surface. In both soil ages, the surface was characterized by OTUs affiliated to Phormidium and Sphingobacteriales. In lower depths, however, bacterial and fungal communities differed between both SSDs. Lower depths of sparsely-vegetated soils consisted of OTUs affiliated to Acidobacteria and Geoglossum whereas depths of barren soils were characterized by OTUs related to Gemmatimonadetes. Overall, plant establishment drives the soil microbiota along the successional gradient but does not influence the vertical distribution of microbiota in recently deglaciated soils.

Usage Notes


Damma glacier
Swiss Alps