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Abundance and composition dynamics of soil ammonia-oxidizing archaea in an alpine fir forest on the eastern Tibetan Plateau of China

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Real-time qPCR and clone library sequencing targeting amoA genes were used to investigate the seasonal dynamics of an ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) community in an alpine fir forest in western China. AOA were detected at all sampling dates, and there were significant variations in archaeal amoA gene copy numbers (7.63 × 105 to 8.35 × 108 per gram of dry soil) throughout the nongrowing season. Compared with ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), the AOA displayed a higher abundance on the majority of sampling dates during the freeze–thaw period. All of the AOA sequences fell within soil and sediment lineages and were affiliated with 7 clusters. Compared with the other clusters, cluster 1 was more sensitive to low temperature and was the dominant group in August. In contrast, cluster 3 dominated the AOA community in winter and probably represents a group of cold-adapted archaea. Redundancy analysis (RDA) revealed that the seasonality of the AOA community was mainly attributed to changes in soil temperature and nutrient availability (e.g., dissolved organic nitrogen and carbon). Our results indicate that AOA exist in frozen soils in the alpine coniferous forest ecosystem of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Moreover, soil temperature may directly and (or) indirectly affect AOA abundance and composition and may further influence the soil N cycle during the winter.

Keywords: RDA; alpine forest; ammonia-oxidizing archaea; analyse de redondance; archée oxydant l’ammoniac; forêt alpine; gel-dégel saisonnier; seasonal freeze-thaw

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 13, 2012

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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