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Network complexity of rubber plantations is lower than tropical forests for soil bacteria but not fungi
Soil  (IF5.841),  Pub Date : 2021-09-28, DOI: 10.5194/soil-2021-98
Guoyu Lan, Chuan Yang, Zhixiang Wu

Abstract. Soil microbial communities play a crucial role in ecosystem functioning. Past research has examined the effects of forest conversion on soil microbial composition and diversity, but it remains unknown how networks within these communities respond to forest conversion such as when tropical rainforest are replaced with rubber plantations. In this study, we used Illumina sequencing and metagenome shotgun sequencing to analyze bacterial and fungal community network structure in a large number of soil samples from tropical rainforest and rubber plantation sites in Hainan Island, China. Our results showed only a few shared network edges were observed in both bacterial and fungal communities, which indicates that forest conversion altered soil microbial network structure. We found a greater degree of network structure and a larger number of network edges among bacterial networks in samples from tropical rainforest compared to samples from rubber plantations. The difference was especially pronounced during the rainy season and indicates that rainforest bacterial networks were more complex than rubber plantation bacterial networks. However, rubber plantations soil fungal networks showed more higher links and higher network degree, suggesting that forest conversion does not reduce fungal network complexity. We found that some groups of Acidobacteria were keystone taxa in our tropical rainforest soils, while Actinobacteria were keystone taxa in rubber plantation soils. In addition, seasonal change had a strong effect on network degree, the complexity of soil bacterial and fungal network structure. In conclusion, forest conversion changed soil pH and other soil properties, such as available potassium (AK) and total nitrogen (TN), which resulted in changes in bacterial and fungal network composition and structure.