Caister Academic Press

Molecular Methods to Study Microbial Succession in Soil

Francisco Dini-Andreote, Xiu Jia and Joana Falcão Salles
from: Microbial Ecology: Current Advances from Genomics, Metagenomics and Other Omics (Edited by: Diana Marco). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2019) Pages: 27-44.


The soil environment teems with microbes that play fundamental roles in controlling biogeochemical cycles, thus providing support for organisms above and below ground to thrive. With the contemporary development of high-throughput DNA sequencing technologies, a growing body of literature has shown that organismal composition and abundance within microbial communities can orderly and sequentially change through time. Interestingly, these patterns of ecological succession share commonalities across distinct systems, e.g. receding glacier forelands, salt marsh chronosequence, volcanic deposited gradients, post-mining areas and abandoned agricultural fields. Of critical importance, most of the available literature is based on community taxa distribution, with relatively little known about the successional changes in community functional traits. Here, we provide an overview of advances in molecular methods based on DNA sequencing and describe how these methods can enhance our understanding of the dynamics of microbial communities, with particular implications for studying patterns of microbial succession in soils. Collectively, the use of molecular methods can promote a comprehensive understanding of how microbial communities systematically change over both spatial and temporal scales, thus providing the basis for predicting microbial community responses after short- and long-term disturbances and in future environmental change scenarios read more ...
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