A field-scale transplantation experiment to investigate structures of soil bacterial communities at pioneering sites
Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2011)
Abstract:Studies on the effect of environmental conditions on plants and microorganisms are a central issue in Ecology and they require an adequate experimental setup. A strategy often applied in geobotanical studies is based on the reciprocal transplantation of plant species at different sites. We adopted a similar approach as a field-based tool to investigate the relationships of soil bacterial communities with the environment. Soil samples from two different (calcareous and siliceous) unvegetated glacier forefields were reciprocally transplanted and incubated for 15 months between 2009 and 2010. Controls containing local soils were included. The sites were characterized over time in terms of geographical (bedrock, exposition, sunlight, temperature and precipitation) and physico-chemical (texture, water content, soluble nutrients) features. The incubating local (“home”) and transplanted (“away”) soils were monitored for changes in extractable nutrients and in the bacterial community structure, defined through terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) of the 16S rRNA gene.