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Selection of r-K strategies by soil bacterial communities in response to grassland degradation
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  • Junwei Peng,
  • Hong Liu,
  • Yang Hu,
  • Yang Sun,
  • Qin Liu,
  • Jiangang Li,
  • Yuanhua Dong
Junwei Peng
Institute of Soil Science Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Hong Liu
Institute of Soil Science Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Yang Hu
Anhui Agricultural University
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Yang Sun
Institute of Soil Science Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Qin Liu
Institute of Soil Science Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Jiangang Li
Institute of Soil Science Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Yuanhua Dong
Institute of Soil Science Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Abstract

Numerous studies have investigated bacterial community structure in grassland ecosystems and bacterial community responses to human management at various spatial and temporal scales; however, research on soil bacterial community assembly dynamics in the course of grassland degradation is limited. Here, the authors investigate the response and assembly processes of bacterial communities adopted in two grasslands with different degrees of degradation. Stochastic processes dominated bacterial community assembly processes in response to grassland degradation, with the bacterial diversity decreasing; however, functional gene diversity increased. Furthermore, different phyla exhibited distinct response strategies: Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes, as r-strategists, exhibited positive responses, with increases in diversity, abundance, and niche width with an increase in grassland degradation, enhancing biodiversity and productivity; other phyla (mainly Acidobacteria) exhibited greater phylogenetic dispersion and functional redundancy, and less niche overlap, highlighting the role of K-strategy in improving community resource-use efficiency in response to resource loss in degraded grasslands. The transition from K- to r- strategy in bacterial communities following grassland degradation could help communities adapt to environmental disturbance in the form of nutrient loss. The results of the present study enhance our understanding of how nutrient loss in natural grassland ecosystems leads to shifts in bacterial community composition and assembly processes mediated by different response strategies of different phyla.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

24 Nov 2021Submitted to Land Degradation & Development
25 Nov 2021Assigned to Editor
25 Nov 2021Submission Checks Completed
30 Nov 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
15 Dec 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Dec 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major