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Climate as a predictor of microbiome diversity in Neotropical forests of Mexico in the Anthropocene

Luis Villarreal Ruiz: Colegio de Postgraduados, PREGEP-Genetics Department, LARGEMBIO

<div>The tree rhizosphere contains a diverse and overlooked microbiome that could influence the effect of climate change on plant health. Here, we studied four geographically and climatically different Neotropical forests, including: two tropical coniferous montane forests (<em>Pseudotzuga </em><em>menziesii</em>); one dry tropical forest (<em>Neea psychotrioides</em>); and one chaparral (<em>Quercus potosina</em>-<em>Archtostaphylos pungens</em>) forest, located in east-central and southwest, southeast, and north-central Mexico, respectively. At each location, soil samples were collected from 20 randomly selected trees using soil cores. Samples (n=160) were taken at a distance of 1-1.5 m from the trunk on opposite sides of each tree, and analysed with 454 pyrosequencing, bioinformatics, quantitative and biogeographic methods. Metabarcoding analysis revealed a total of 10,463 species-level OTUs of eukaryotic microbial diversity in the rhizosphere. Fungi represented 95.7% of the species-level OTUs followed by Metazoa (1.5%), Viridiplantae (1.3%), Protista: Alveolate-Rhizaria-Amoebida (1.2%), and 0.25% with no identified Kingdom. The main fungal functional groups were mycorrhizae 73%, mycoparasites 13.7%, plant pathogens 8.5%, white-rot fungi 4.2% and animal parasites 0.5%. Differential changes in organismal and fungal functional group diversity were observed in the four sites, and climate was the best diversity predictor, likely due to climatic effects on plants, fungi and possibly other soil microbial communities.</div>

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