The Aboveground Vegetation Type and Underground Soil Property Mediate the Divergence of Soil Microbiomes and the Biological Interactions

Shu Hong Wu, Bing Hong Huang, Chia Lung Huang, Gang Li, Pei Chun Liao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The composition of the soil microbiome is influenced by environmental (abiotic) variables and biological interactions (biotic factors). To determine whether the aboveground vegetation and soil physicochemical properties were the main determinant of beta-diversity and biological interaction of soil microbial community, we sampled soils from the temperate coniferous forest and grassland. Clustering of operational taxonomic units was conducted using 16S rRNA gene. We found that the microbial composition of the rhizospheres, in which root exudates influence the microbial environment, show lower alpha-diversity than that of nonroot soils. The nonsignificant rhizosphere effect suggested other undetermined factors or stochastic processes accounted for microbial diversity in the rhizosphere. More significant microbe-microbe interactions were observed in forest and rhizosphere soils relative to the grassland soils. The elevated number of positive correlations for relative abundances in forest soil implied beneficial associations being common among bacteria, in particular within the rhizosphere environment. The particular soil properties generated by root exudates also alter the physicochemical properties of soil such as K and pH value, and might in turn favor the adoption of teamwork-cooperation strategies for microbe-microbe interactions, represented as large clusters of positive associations among bacterial taxa. Specific biological interactions differentiated the microbiomes within forest soils. Thus, the environmental selection pressure of aboveground vegetation accounts for differences between soil microbiomes while biotic factors are responsible for fine-scale differences of the microbial community in forest soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-446
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1


  • Biological interactions
  • Environmental factors
  • Forest
  • Grassland
  • Rhizosphere
  • Soil microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Soil Science


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