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Global homogenization of the structure and function in the soil microbiome of urban greenspaces
Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, David J. Eldridge, Yu-Rong Liu, Blessing Sokoya, Jun-Tao Wang, Hang-Wei Hu, Ji-Zheng He, Felipe Bastida, José L. Moreno, Adebola R. Bamigboye, Tine Grebenc, Tina Unuk, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: The structure and function of the soil microbiome of urban greenspaces remain largely undetermined. We conducted a global field survey in urban greenspaces and neighboring natural ecosystems across 56 cities from six continents, and found that urban soils are important hotspots for soil bacterial, protist and functional gene diversity, but support highly homogenized microbial communities worldwide. Urban greenspaces had a greater proportion of fast-growing bacteria, algae, amoebae, and fungal pathogens, but a lower proportion of ectomycorrhizal fungi than natural ecosystems. These urban ecosystems also showed higher proportions of genes associated with human pathogens, greenhouse gas emissions, faster nutrient cycling, and more intense abiotic stress than natural environments. City affluence, management practices, and climate were fundamental drivers of urban soil communities. Our work paves the way toward a more comprehensive global-scale perspective on urban greenspaces, which is integral to managing the health of these ecosystems and the well-being of human populations.
Keywords: soil biodiversity, structural diversity, functional diversity, urban soils
Published in DiRROS: 15.07.2021; Views: 509; Downloads: 361
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Patterns of understory community assembly and plant trait-environment relationships in temperate SE European forests
Janez Kermavnar, Lado Kutnar, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: We analyzed variation in the functional composition and diversity of understory plant communities across different forest vegetation types in Slovenia. The study area comprises 10 representative forest sites covering broad gradients of environmental conditions (altitude, geology, light availability, soil type and reaction, nutrient availability, soil moisture), stand structural features and community attributes. The mean and variation of the trait values were quantified by community-weighted means and functional dispersion for four key plant functional traits: plant height, seed mass, specific leaf area and leaf dry matter content. At each study site, forest vegetation was surveyed at two different spatial scales (4 and 100 m2 ) in order to infer scale-dependent assembly rules. Patterns of community assembly were tested with a null model approach. We found that both trait means and diversity values responded to conspicuous gradients in environmental conditions and species composition across the studied forests. Our results mainly support the idea of abiotic filtering: more stressful environmental conditions (e.g., high altitude, low soil pH and low nutrient content) were occupied by communities of low functional diversity (trait convergence), which suggests a selective effect for species with traits adapted to such harsh conditions. However, trait convergence was also detected in some more resource-rich forest sites (e.g., low altitude, high soil productivity), most likely due to the presence of competitive understory species with high abundance domination. This could, at least to some extent, indicate the filtering effect of competitive interactions. Overall, we observed weak and inconsistent patterns regarding the impact of spatial scale, suggesting that similar assembly mechanisms are operating at both investigated spatial scales. Our findings contribute to the baseline understanding of the role of both abiotic and biotic constraints in forest community assembly, as evidenced by the non-random patterns in the functional structure of distinct temperate forest understories.
Keywords: functional composition, functional diversity, ecological gradients, abiotic filtering, trait convergence, trait divergence, spatial scale, forest ground-layer vegetation, Slovenia
Published in DiRROS: 26.05.2020; Views: 1260; Downloads: 853
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