Community composition of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea in soils under stands of red alder and Douglas fir in Oregon

Stephanie A Boyle-Yarwood, Peter J Bottomley, David D Myrold
Environmental Microbiology 2008, 10 (11): 2956-65
This study determined nitrification activity and nitrifier community composition in soils under stands of red alder (Alnus rubra) and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) at two sites in Oregon. The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, located in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, has low net N mineralization and gross nitrification rates. Cascade Head Experimental Forest, in the Coast Range, has higher net N mineralization and nitrification rates and soil pH is lower. Communities of putative bacterial [ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB)] and archaeal [ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA)] ammonia oxidizers were examined by targeting the gene amoA, which codes for subunit A of ammonia monooxygenase. Nitrification potential was significantly higher in red alder compared with Douglas-fir soil and greater at Cascade Head than H.J. Andrews. Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria amoA genes were amplified from all soils, but AOA amoA genes could only be amplified at Cascade Head. Gene copy numbers of AOB and AOA amoA were similar at Cascade Head regardless of tree type (2.3-6.0 x 10(6)amoA gene copies g(-1) of soil). DNA sequences of amoA revealed that AOB were members of Nitrosospira clusters 1, 2 and 4. Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria community composition, determined by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) profiles, varied among sites and between tree types. Many of the AOA amoA sequences clustered with environmental clones previously obtained from soil; however, several sequences were more similar to clones previously recovered from marine and estuarine sediments. As with AOB, the AOA community composition differed between red alder and Douglas-fir soils.

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