Distribution patterns of fungi and bacteria in saline soils

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Saline soils are environments characterized by uneven temporal and spatial water distributionand localized high concentrations of salts. Spatial distribution patterns of fungi and bacteria insaline soils, and the link between microbial community dynamics and salts accumulation arecritical issues throughout the world (Ettema, Wardle 2002).This study was focused on spatial distribution patterns of soil fungi and bacteria in a saline soillocated in Piana del Signore (Gela, Italy) where some ecological variables acted as shapingfactors in aboveground and belowground communities distribution. Bacterial, archaeal, andfungal communities diversity and distribution in ten soil sites (A horizons, 0-10cm), werecharacterized by 16S rDNA genes with T-RFLP method. Pyrosequencing-based analysis of theV2-V3 16S rRNA gene region was performed to characterize the sites on the basis of bacterialgroups distribution, diversity and assemblage. To better investigate the ecological niches ofsome of the main culturable species of this environment, it was carried out the isolation andidentification of the fungal flora from soil, using Warcup plating within two different saltconcentrations (NaCl 5% and 15%), combined with a metabolic screening of somerepresentative isolates (Di Lonardo et al., 2013).A natural gradient of soil salinity shaped the distribution of microbial species in the environment.The different concentration of salt (NaCl), and calcium sulfate (Ca2SO4) in soil influenced thestructure and distribution of the microbial communities even when comparing neighboring areaswithin a 50 m scale.Some bacterial phyla, together with some fungal species, appeared spread in the whole area,independently of the salinity gradient, thus highlighting the presence of organisms with a verydifferent survival strategy in such an extreme environment.In conclusion, the organization and diversity of microbial taxa at a spatial scale reflected thescales of heterogeneity of physical and chemical properties of the habitat under investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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