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Different Degrees of Niche Differentiation for Bacteria, Fungi, and Myxomycetes Within an Elevational Transect in the German Alps

Mathilde Borg Dahl, Asker Daniel Brejnrod, Jakob Russel, Søren Johannes Sørensen, Martin Schnittler
Microbial Ecology 2019 March 22
We used direct DNA amplification from soil extracts to analyze microbial communities from an elevational transect in the German Alps by parallel metabarcoding of bacteria (16S rRNA), fungi (ITS2), and myxomycetes (18S rRNA). For the three microbial groups, 5710, 6133, and 261 operational taxonomic units (OTU) were found. For the latter group, we can relate OTUs to barcodes from fruit bodies sampled over a 4-year period. The alpha diversity of myxomycetes was positively correlated with that of bacteria. Vegetation type was found to be the main explanatory parameter for the community composition of all three groups and a substantial species turnover with elevation was observed. Bacteria and fungi display similar community responses, driven by symbiont species and plant substrate quality. Myxamoebae show a more patchy distribution, though still clearly stratified between taxa, which seems to be a response to both structural properties of the habitat and interaction with specific bacterial and fungal taxa. Finally, we report a high number of myxomycete OTUs not represented in a reference database from fructifications, which might represent novel species.


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