Scientists Reveal Different Contributions of Bacteria and Fungi During Biological Soil Crust Succession
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are known to play various ecological functions in arid and semi-arid regions, including regulating the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles. Therefore, BSCs are widely considered critical for soil fertility in arid ecosystems.
However, how microbial conmmunities regulate the C and N cycles during BSC succession is not well understood. Therefore, more detailed study on the diversity of functional groups and functional genes involved in the C and N cycles of BSCs is needed to understand the succession-related regulatory mechanisms of bacteria and fungi.
Recently, scientists from Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources (NIEER) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences used GeoChip 5.0 to analyze differences in functional genes between bacterial and fungal communities involved in C and N metabolism of BSCs along a revegetation chronosequence in the Tengger Desert.
This study indicates that bacteria play a crucial role in the regulation of C and N cycles during BSC succession in arid ecosystems, while fungi perform supplementary degradation of lignin, and these communities can successfully stimulate an increase in C and N metabolism in soil during the later successional stages of BSCs.
This research lays a foundation for a sustainable development theory for desert ecosystems and has revealed that the restoration of soil ecological function in arid desert ecosystems takes a long time.
This research has been published on the Plant and Soil in an article entitled “Bacteria and fungi differentially contribute to carbon and nitrogen cycles during biological soil crust succession in arid ecosystems”.
Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China.