May 9, 2015

Forest floor community metatranscriptomes identify fungal and bacterial responses to N deposition in two maple forests

Frontiers in Microbiology
Cedar N HesseCheryl R Kuske


Anthropogenic N deposition alters patterns of C and N cycling in temperate forests, where forest floor litter decomposition is a key process mediated by a diverse community of bacteria and fungi. To track forest floor decomposer activity we generated metatranscriptomes that simultaneously surveyed the actively expressed bacterial and eukaryote genes in the forest floor, to compare the impact of N deposition on the decomposers in two natural maple forests in Michigan, USA, where replicate field plots had been amended with N for 16 years. Site and N amendment responses were compared using about 74,000 carbohydrate active enzyme transcript sequences (CAZymes) in each metatranscriptome. Parallel ribosomal RNA (rRNA) surveys of bacterial and fungal biomass and taxonomic composition showed no significant differences in either biomass or OTU richness between the two sites or in response to N. Site and N amendment were not significant variables defining bacterial taxonomic composition, but they were significant for fungal community composition, explaining 17 and 14% of the variability, respectively. The relative abundance of expressed bacterial and fungal CAZymes changed significantly with N amendment in one of the forests, and N-respo...Continue Reading

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